Homecoming Day of Service begins with centennial celebration

Volunteers cleaned communities across the country Saturday morning.
Freshman Jimmy Benoist paints a handrail Saturday on the steps of Lowry Mall. Hundreds of students volunteered across campus for the Homecoming Day of Service event hosted by Mizzou Alumni Association.

MU’s first Homecoming Day of Service brought students and alumni together to give back in the name of the Tigers.

More than 350 students removed litter, tidied Peace Park and cleaned bus stops, lamp posts and bulletin boards 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday.

The Mizzou Alumni Association, which previously has hosted Homecoming service projects, wanted to do something special for the centennial celebration. Alumni Association Executive Director Todd McCubbin said staff members thought focusing a service project on campus was a great idea.

“Homecoming is about giving back to MU and seeing what we can do for MU and our campus,” McCubbin said.

The Alumni Association and the Homecoming Steering Committee began planning Day of Service last spring. They partnered with MU Campus Facilities to choose the projects in which students could partake, McCubbin said.

“The whole goal is to spiff the university up for Homecoming in the next few weeks,” he said. “Students are doing things that help Campus Facilities make the place look better and things the staff doesn’t have time to get to.”

So many students participated that Campus Facilities had to come up with more tasks to be completed, Homecoming Director Kelly Heins said.

“We had such high numbers that we tried to choose projects that worked well with those numbers,” she said. “This was hard for them to staff.”

Many students volunteered through one of 26 groups representing residence halls, Greek Life chapters and student organizations.

“We were so pleased to see the differing organizations,” Heins said.

Freshman Jake Wallach, who picked up trash on Tiger Avenue with Schurz Hall, said he recognizes the importance of giving back to MU.

“I think if we’re going to be using all the resources, I feel like we should take care of the environment and keep it clean,” Wallach said.

Other worksites included Rollins Street, Hitt Street, Ninth Street, Conley Avenue, the Hearnes Center and the AV-14 parking lot.

Heins said she hopes volunteers personally gained from the experience.

“I hope they take a sense of community and pride in the university and in Homecoming,” Heins said. “Seeing so many people working together for this university and cleaning it up for alumni to come home is a great reminder that MU’s Homecoming is so huge. It’s not just about us, but about the alumni as well.”

While students volunteered on campus, 20 alumni chapters across the nation held their own service activities, McCubbin said.

“It was an idea by the staff to encourage all chapters, who do various projects throughout the year, to do something on the same day,” he said. “I think that’s an important part of the MU family.”

The San Francisco chapter held a beach cleanup, the Houston chapter participated in the city’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and the Tampa chapter worked with tigers and other large felines at Big Cat Rescue.

McCubbin said the Alumni Association might make the Homecoming Day of Service an annual event.

“With the amount of response from alumni and the spirit of students, it’s something we’ll look at doing in the future,” McCubbin said. “Chancellor Brady Deaton and other campus leaders believe in service, so we want to instill it in students, and allowing alumni to gather and serve the community in the name of MU is a good thing. We see (Day of Service) as a start, not an end.”

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