Ouachita’s Fall 2012 Tiger Serve Day attracts more than 900 volunteers

Ouachita Baptist University’s Fall 2012 Tiger Serve Day, sponsored by the Ben M. Elrod Center for Family and Community, involved more than 900 volunteers on Saturday, Sept. 22.

Tiger Serve Day volunteers served on 91 teams that completed more than 100 community service projects in the Arkadelphia area. “Tiger Serve Day was an overwhelming success,” said Ian Cosh, OBU’s vice president for community and international engagement. “Projects were completed all over the city and the students built new relationships and renewed old relationships with members of the community.”

With the completion of this semester’s Tiger Serve Day activities, Ouachita students, faculty and staff have logged more than 53,000 volunteer service hours since 1997. The semi-annual community service emphasis began in response to a tornado that devastated the Arkadelphia area.

“I’m proud of the way OBU comes out in full force to serve on this day,” said Judy Duvall, assistant director of the Elrod Center. “It’s a great Ouachita tradition!

“One of the goals for Tiger Serve Day is that the students, faculty and staff would build relationships with the community that will continue long after Tiger Serve Day,” Duvall added. “I’ve had students and faculty tell me that they are going to go back and connect with the folks they served.”

A key part of accomplishing Tiger Serve Day each semester is the Tiger Serve Day Leadership Team. Composed of 20 students, the leadership team meets in the weeks leading up to the day to prepare the projects and coordinate student teams.

Volunteers worked on projects ranging from mowing lawns and weeding gardens to washing cars and painting houses. Projects areoften selected to help senior adults in the area who are unable to complete the tasks.
“In nine days I’ll be 79 and my wife is 75, so there are a lot of things that my wife and I can no longer do,” said Arkadelphia resident Bill Palmer. “This is a birthday present for me,” he added, “so this is nice.”
Residents in the area are not the only ones who benefit from the work done on Tiger Serve Day. The students who participate see the value in the time and energy they donate to the effort. “One of the goals for Tiger Serve Day is to give Ouachita students a positive service experience in the belief that they will continue to serve their communities after they graduate,” Cosh said.

“It’s really cool to me because it’s a way that I can get outside Ouachita and reach into thecommunity,” said Brooks Burleson, a junior business administration major from Greenbrier, Ark. “I don’t feel like I have a lot of time to give to the community so it’s a good way to get away from my school work and really help someone out who needs it.”

Jacob Catlett, a junior Christian studies major from Malvern, Ark., also affirmed the opportunity to get involved in Tiger Serve Day. “My favorite part of Tiger Serve Day is that we spend most of the year at a Baptist college talking about what we can do to tangibly show the love of God to people and it’s good that our school provides us a way two times a year to go out and do that in our own community,” Catlett said. “I think it’s really cool that we can focus on actually doing what we say and what we talk about.”
For more information about Tiger Serve Day, contact the Elrod Center at 870-245-5320 or visit www.obu.edu/serve.