Stampede of Service Floods Neighborhoods
More than 2,600 USF students volunteered with various Tampa Bay organizations during the popular day of service.
Video credit: Danielle Barta | USF News
TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 19, 2011) – More than 2,600 students signed up to participate in the fifth annual Stampede of Service (SOS) on Jan. 14, the University of South Florida’s largest day of volunteering in the community.
Braving the chilly air at 8 a.m., the students met up with members of various campus organizations, fraternities, and sororities to be sorted into their volunteer groups for the day.
Volunteer activities included aiding the elderly, feeding the homeless and cleaning up parks and playgrounds in the Tampa Bay region.
Andre Pert, a public administration Masters student at USF, spent the day at Lowry Park helping a group of student volunteers pick up trash like plastic cups, soda cans and cigarette butts. He has participated in SOS since its inception in 2006, when then USF student, Maxon Victor, founded it as a way to celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
“Getting involved and being a part of a lot of organizations kind of opened the door for me so I could give back to the community and make Tampa Bay a better place,” Pert said.
Other than volunteering yearly for SOS, Pert is a member of the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program and mentors an 11-year-old and tutors various other middle and high school students for the FCAT exam.
SOS is hosted by the Center for Leadership & Civic Engagement (CLCE) at USF and is just one of the many community service events they offer. Others include Bulls Leading And Serving Tampa (BLAST), a monthly community service project and BullSERVE, which offers both monthly and weekly volunteer projects.
The event relies on student volunteers and site leaders to partner up with existing organizations in Tampa Bay that are in need of volunteers.
Shauna-kay Campbell, a business management student, was one of this year’s site leaders at Lowry Park for the “Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful” program. She has been volunteering for four years at SOS and was there to represent the Caribbean Cultural Exchange and National Council of Negro Women.
“It’s kind of early to wake up on a Saturday morning but it’s a great program to give back to the community, especially when so many people show up.” Campbell said. “It’s a great kickoff to the new year and a new semester so I think it’s one of the better programs here for volunteering.”
Campbell said that for many USF students, SOS is the first exposure they get to volunteering during their college career.
“It gives an opening eye to the CLCE and what they do and SOS is kind of the enabler, catalyst that starts people on their volunteering adventures,” Campbell said.
Daylina Miller can be reached at 813-500-8754.