Service With a Smile

TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 20, 2010) – More than just learning took place this past Saturday at USF’s Preschool for Creative Learning. Students spent hours scrubbing floors, shelves and fixtures and organizing prop boxes for dress-up costumes, all in celebration of Stampede of Service and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.


With so many little kids around during the week, it is hard to clean up amidst the toys and learning materials, students said. But three fraternities and sororities made quick work of scrubbing surfaces and organizing a clutter of educational toys, games and arts and crafts supplies.


Founded in 2006 by student Maxon Victor, Stampede of Service has become an annual USF event. This one-day community service event aims to get the word out about volunteering, even after the day’s activities are over.


“Having over 3,000 students participate in the community service brings you a sense of pride in going to USF,” said Nelson Vasquez of USF Ambassadors.


A pep rally kick-off was held that morning at the USF’s soccer stadium and included Rocky D. Bull, USF cheerleaders, the Sun Dolls and the Herd of Thunder band.  The students then left on buses to more than 80 service sites across Tampa.


“It’s really important for us to participate in community service because we all come from different backgrounds and some of us, like me, are education majors so this hits close to our hearts,” said Frances Garcia, a member of Lambda Alpha Theta.


Fellow member Amber Evans concurred.


“One of our sorority’s goals is to help better the community, especially the USF area since we are a part of it,” she said.


With gloved hands, dirt streaked t-shirts and smiling faces they cleaned as if many of them wouldn’t be returning to stereotypically messy college bedrooms later.


“You’re making the environment cleaner and healthier for the kids. We are helping out the teachers who work really hard and it makes the parents and kids happy, too,” said Sabrina Jaglal, senior and member of Delta Phi Omega.


The preschool is a partner of USF College of Education’s Early Childhood Education Program and primarily serves children whose parents are students, faculty and staff of USF but also invites in children from the community.


“This preschool is such a great establishment and it gives the children who go here an even better place to learn,” said Sriram Valamon of Delta Epsilon Psi.


At Greek Village, students unwound from a busy day of hard work, enjoying a live band and lining up for food from various restaurants. With yawns and hunched shoulders, their exhaustion showed. But there were no complaints about the early start to the day.


“Most the people participating in SOS are doing it through organizations but some of us are just volunteers because we want to be involved and bring all the different groups together,” said Alex Arnold, a freshman.


Whether the students worked behind the scenes or out on one of the service sites, they made a difference in the community and left a lasting impression on those they volunteered for.


“They’re a good group of kids,” said center manager Karen Johns. “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed having them here. We will definitely participate in the future.


Daylina Miller

News Writer

University Communications & Marketing