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Acting Director of Service-Learning
Office of Service-Learning
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
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Spring Term 2010
In January students volunteered with Tampa Bay Watch, doing outdoor environmental service regarding the Gulf of Mexico and the ocean-life, and with Friends of Strays, helping the volunteers who are there on a daily basis by cleaning out cat and dog cages.
February was Sustainability Awareness Month and Tibet Genocide Awareness Month. Students participated in composting and fermenting workshops, volunteered in the on-campus garden, and attended social justice dinners about how to implement a sustainable lifestyle of being good to the earth and knowing where your food comes from. For the month of Losar, the Tibetan New Year, a movie surrounding Buddhism and the problems occurring in Tibet due to the Chinese occupation was shown, followed with a discussion of what's going on, how to help, and about other genocides happening across the world.
As apart of this years 2010 Take Back the Night students volunteered at CASA, Community Action Stops Abuse, by painting an apartment for an incoming family.
Later on in the month students were at Ft. DeSoto, picking up rocks for sea turtles coming to lay eggs.
Community Plunge, a half a day dedicated to community service, was a huge success with five sites: The Eckerd College Organic Garden, Florida Center for Survivors of Torture, Happy Workers Children's Center, Palmetto Park Garden, and Great Explorations. Volunteers spent the afternoon at one of the five places, learning about the organization, more about the St. Pete Community, and how they can keep on giving back.
April saw the first of what will become a norm around Eckerd College: ten days dedicated to bringing different service clubs together to create a week surrounding themes of genocide, LGBT Rights, cure for cancer, human trafficking, fair food, women's issues around the world, peace, environment, worker's rights, and diversity. Spring Into Action, appropriately named, gave opportunities for Amnesty International, Campus Ministries, Coalition for Community Justice, Earth Society, Eckerd College Homeless Outreach, Eckerd College Pride, and the Eckerd College Garden Club to come together, joining forces by offering a week chock full of ways to get involved and care about the world around us. Students participated in write-a-thons, social justice dinners, days of service around the St. Pete community, rallies and marches for fair food and a living wage for the Immokalee workers, documentaries and movies on what other's around the world are doing to help, drag show, a drag show and a drum circle!
International Day of Service gave alumni and current students a chance to come together, learn from each other, and volunteer throughout St. Pete with another half a day of community service. Sites included Creative Clay, Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, Westminster of Suncoast, and Ft. DeSoto Beach. Each site was lead by one freshman and one alumni. Afterwards pizza and soda was enjoyed by all, along with a reflection of an afternoon well spent.
For our spring semester retreat, Gamma Knox headed over to Florida's oldest city: Saint Augustine. Eckerd students went to St. Augustine and worked with the St. Johns Homeless Coalition for a Fall Break Service Trip last semester and they had such a blast that Knox decided to head up there and help them out again. We learned a lot about the organization and were all touched by the compelling efforts to help people who are less fortunate. What inspired us all the most was not just the helping that goes towards those less fortunate, but the St. John's Homeless coalition aids in helping them grow stronger as families and individuals, prepares them for jobs, and helps them to be active and positive forces in their present and future communities. We helped the St. John's Homeless Coalition with their monthly yard sale. We helped unload the trucks, organize the items and even helped with pricing/selling items. On top of this, we split up into groups and went into the surrounding neighborhoods to educate people about filling out their census forms. This area of St. Augustine had a very small amount of people return their census forms last year, but with education and door-to-door workers, they have already doubled the response. After we helped clean up what was not sold, we played with some of the kids who live in the community - we had a game of basketball going and even had some roller skating happening! As the day ended we headed over to downtown St. Augustine and took a ghost tour of the city! Overall the retreat was a huge success and everyone really learned a lot - we grew as individuals, but more importantly we grew as a dorm.