2,000+ Students Charged Up for Stampede of Service on Saturday

TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 16, 2008) - More than 2,000 students are scheduled to participate in the University of South Florida Stampede of Service, Jan. 19. The event offers students an opportunity to give back to their community by volunteering their time, skills and compassion to more than 40 charitable, not-for-profit and government beautification programs.

The students are signed up to volunteer at various sites and locations throughout Tampa Bay including Lowry Park Zoo, the American Legion, the Child Abuse Council, Metropolitan Ministries, the Spring of Tampa Bay, Hope’s Children’s Home, Horses for Handicapped and Keep Hillsborough Beautiful.  The kick-off starts at 9 a.m. at Martin Luther King Plaza with a send-off by President Genshaft, Rocky the Bull and the Herd of Thunder.  Buses will take most of the students to their respective locations immediately following the kick-off event (at 9:20 a.m.), leaving from the Visual Arts parking lot 3A.

Stampede of Service had a modest start.  The first large, organized volunteer effort started at USF in 2002, when the Center for Civic Engagement and Volunteerismbegan sponsoring events such as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, during which approximately 200-350 students took part in volunteer activities.

Building on that achievement, the USF Stampede of Service was created officially in January 2006 to celebrate the Martin Luther King holiday and the importance of volunteerism.  The Center for Civic Engagement and Volunteerism worked with Student Government, a committee of students and community organizations such as Parks & Recreation, the University Area Community Development Corporation and Clean City, to plan the event.  It took place in East Tampa, a community identified by Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and President Genshaft as a target area of focus.  More than 900 students from a variety of USF student organizations, as well as USF athletes, Student Government and others joined in to work side by side with community members of East Tampa to clean up and beautify local parks and neighborhoods.  The day was a huge success.

The Stampede of Service continued in 2007 and expanded its focus with more than 1,300 students participating.  The Stampede of Service became the “Official Day of Service for Greek Life” in 2007 and received sponsorship and support from the Resident Hall Association and Campus Ministries as well as Student Government.

The tradition for Stampede of Service has been firmly established with plans to make the 2008 Stampede of Service (SOS) the biggest and best to date.  A committee of students has been working tirelessly on the Jan. 19 event. As in years past, the SOS tradition will be a part of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration and will recognize thousands of students and the University for the ongoing commitment to civic engagement.

For more information on this project, contact Amy Simon in the USF Center for Civic Engagement and Volunteerism at asimon@admin.usf.edu

The University of South Florida is among the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community engaged public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  It is one of Florida's top three research universities.  USF was awarded more than $300 million in research contracts and grants last year. The University offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine.  The University has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 45,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland.  USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

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