Volunteers weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty during Central Methodist University’s annual Service Day, with projects including everything from creek clean-up to gardening.  

As part of a spring-time tradition for CMU, students, faculty, and staff took a day to make a difference through service projects. Sponsored by CMU’s Center for Faith and Service, Service Day encourages individuals to engage in volunteer activities in support of a variety of causes.

Classes were called off on Thursday, April 6, to provide individuals with the flexibility they needed to get involved. The result was over 820 volunteers who donated an estimated 2,200 hours of service in Fayette and nearby communities. This is a record number of participants, according to Ken Oliver, CMU vice president of institutional growth and student engagement.

“Service Day models our mission and vision here at CMU,” said Kiona Sinks, a junior sociology major from Kansas City. “It’s important to take a day to not only think about our academics, but our values outside of CMU.” 

There were approximately 50 different projects going on in which volunteers could get involved, including 10 offered on CMU’s campus for faculty and staff who needed to remain near their offices. Most participants stayed in the Fayette area, but some volunteered in Boonville, Columbia, Harrisburg, and Rocheport.

A variety of students from athletic groups, clubs, Greek Life, and various campus organizations stepped up to do their part, according to Cassandra Nappier, CMU coordinator for civic engagement and student programming.

“Two neat and different projects included puff painting children’s socks – making them non-slip - and sewing pillow cases for children in the hospital,” she said.  

Nappier reported that one of CMU’s sororities, Alpha Gamma Psi, helped at Coyote Hill – a children’s home in Harrisburg, while Phi Delta Theta and Alpha Phi Gamma (Moker) fraternities cleaned up a creek running along Oaklawn Avenue in Fayette. The students worked with Scott Minnick, a Fayette citizen who coordinated the creek clean-up.

Additionally, volleyball team members cleaned a fleet of fire trucks and police cars, while Occupational Therapy Assistant students played games with Braun Home clients.

“It is very important that we create a positive bond with our community,” Nappier said. “Service Day provides the avenue we need to do just that.”