Nearly 130 UNC Greensboro students spent part of their Saturday serving the Greensboro community as part of the 13th annual Spartan Service Day. Led by the Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement, students participated in community service projects for eight local and national organizations such as Downtown Greenway, Project Linus, Tiny House Community Development, and more.
“Spartan Service Day is a great opportunity for students to be introduced to our community through service,” said Katelyn Bodwell, assistant director of civic engagement. “By introducing them to ways they can support others, we are teaching students self-awareness, collaboration with others towards a common purpose, and so much more to prepare them to be effective members of society.”
Following COVID-19 protocols, service sites were sanitized, participants wore face coverings while remaining six feet apart, and groups were limited in size.
“Quite a few things were done differently this year in order to make sure we took every precaution we could so Spartans could safely serve the community,” said Bodwell. “By putting students into smaller groups, we hope it allowed them to have more honest conversations after the service was completed.”
Students served and discussed the systemic causes homelessness, environmental issues, and domestic violence, among other societal issues. In addition, many of the organizations involved in Spartan Service Day are juggling a shift to virtual services and increased need from community members. Students were able to support these organizations by picking up trash and gardening, packing face coverings for distribution, making blankets for children, and more. At the end of day, each group had the opportunity to reflect on their service project with the site leaders and discuss how they were making a difference.
“I believe Spartan Service Day and other opportunities to serve the campus and Greensboro community are important because it is our universal duty to help one another,” said Marlas Whitley, a senior English major who served as a site leader for the Operation Gratitude service project. “As Spartans, it is imperative that civic engagement is continually practiced because that’s our school motto – service. That is what we learn while we are here, and what we carry with us when we graduate. Regardless of what you major in or what you plan to do as a career, service and helping each other and the world is one of the most important things anyone can do.”
Story by Alexandra McQueen, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications