By Grace Sullivan, Contributor
Over the last several years, the Student-Community Leadership and Service Department at UNO has developed a tradition of mission-driven service by partnering with local nonprofit organizations to create organized days of volunteer work and community service. Volunteers from all over Omaha and surrounding communities join together during these service days, giving their time and energy in celebration of local and global causes.
For UNO student Martha Spangler, Seven Days of Service is convenient.
“I like volunteering but I find it difficult in my schedule to find time,” Spangler said. “Having a structured time over spring break is convenient.”
This spring’s 11th annual Seven Days of Service was held over spring break, starting on March 16 and continuing March 18 through March 23. UNO students at both the undergraduate and graduate level worked directly with university departments and local nonprofit organizations to organize the event. By promoting recruitment efforts across the Omaha area, the event brought over 1,500 volunteers throughout the week.
Volunteers were given the option of registering early online, designating which days they were available to volunteer. Volunteers who registered early were given the option of choosing their project sites on a first come, first served basis, and allowing large groups to travel to the projects together. The projects ranged from multiple construction sites with Habitat for Humanity, conservation projects for education in Madagascar with local nonprofit Conservation Fusion, horticulture projects on the UNO campus and projects at the Stephen Center homeless shelter and city beautification projects around Omaha.
This year, Spangler sorted clothes at the Stephen Center. The senior has been participating in the service project since she was a freshman.
In her time volunteering, she’s worked on different projects. Spangler has helped do yard work for The Salvation Army and has helped tear down siding for Habitat for Humanity.
Check-in began at 8:30 a.m., where volunteers were served a complimentary breakfast, given time to choose their project sites and given their free T-shirts.
Transportation to and from the project sites was provided, and lunch from community partners such as Jason’s Deli and Olive Garden was delivered to the volunteers every day at noon. The projects were completed by 2 p.m. each day, and volunteers were returned to the Milo Bail Student Center by 3 p.m.
The event provided a fantastic volunteer opportunity for students over spring break, and allowed for community members, businesses and local nonprofit organizations to come together for the common cause of empowering individuals and improving the Omaha community. For more information about the UNO service days, visit unomaha.edu/serve for upcoming events.
By engaging in these service-learning projects, students are able to gain actual experience, strengthen their resumes, build friendships and make a personal contribution to their communities.