It’s always rewarding and a beautiful thing to give back the community. And if we’re being honest, a lot of UT students might have a community service quota to meet for a class or organization. No matter the reason you volunteer, it’s still an admirable thing to do, and there are many opportunities to do so this semester.
On April 7, the RockeTHON dance marathon will be hosted in Savage Arena with an Outer Space/Time Warp theme from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. RockeTHON was founded by Alpha Omicron Pi in 2001 and has been growing ever since.
RockeTHON is an affiliate of the Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon Commission, and all the proceeds go to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in Toledo. This on-campus organization is hoping to raise a record-breaking amount of $160,000.
It’s important to note that this year it is required for each dancer to fundraise $25 by March 23 to receive a team color shirt. Also, there will be a Meet Your Morale Captain event on March 20 from 7-9:30 p.m. in Student Union room 3018.
“This event is a general overview for dancers to get information regarding the history of our event, the dos and don’ts for the event, what to wear and what to bring to survive the full 13 hours, how to earn spirit points for your organizations, how to personally fundraise, how to win prizes and to meet their go-to executive board members for the day of,” said 2018 RockeTHON director Samantha Denlinger.
This event is a fun way to support a local hospital, but it’s not the only service opportunity going on this semester.
On April 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., students will participate in the annual Big Event on campus. Originally started at Texas A&M, Big Event is hosted at over 100 colleges all over the country with the simple purpose of saying “thank you” to their community.
“My favorite part of Big Event is seeing the multitude of students that wake up early on a Saturday morning to provide service for their community,” said Gabrielle Latreille, Big Event’s 2018 director. “Also, there is such a wide variety of individuals and organizations that volunteer. We have Greek organizations, academic organizations, religious organizations, multicultural organizations and much more all in one room for one purpose: to give back.”
As Big Event started to grow, the event became its own organization in 2009. Last year’s Big Event had about 1,700 student volunteers. The goal this year is to break the record turnout and have about 1,800 volunteers.
All students are welcome to join and the first 1,000 students to register on OrgSync receive a free t-shirt.
If you want to get off campus this semester and focus more on giving back to the city directly, check out the University Church of Toledo. They have a wide variety of programs to help from monthly food and service distribution events to planting, weeding and harvesting in their community garden to school outreach programs involved in tutoring and mentoring children.
In 2010, the University Church started the community garden on Hill Avenue. In the last year, they managed to grow and distribute 3,600 lbs. of fresh fruit and vegetables to local food pantries and homeless shelters.
“Giving back is one of the best ways of acknowledging that issues of poverty, food insecurity, homelessness and so on can affect anyone and everyone, even you and me, if life suddenly takes an unexpected turn,” said Julian Davies, University Church preacher.
As college students, we often struggle to stay afloat and only avoid going under by a couple pennies. It’s important to remember, though, that no matter our situation there are always ways to make life better for others and help our community thrive.