MEMPHIS—During the month of September, CBU students, faculty, staff, and alumni volunteered at 30 different organizations around Memphis for the annual “September of Service: 30 Days of Good Deeds” initiative. The 384 volunteers set a record for volunteers, who tallied a total of 1,862 hours served at different local agencies, and contributed $38,953 in volunteer labor costs (according to Independentsector.org, which calculates the value of a volunteer’s hourly work at $20.92).
Now in its fifth year, September of Service: 30 Days of Good Deeds (SOS) has experienced steady growth in both scope and personnel. When it began in 2012, SOS was organized and run by the CBU Honors Program. Over time, however, its leadership team has come to be made up of roughly half Honors Program students and half non-Honors Program students. This shift reflects the inclusive nature of the initiative—a mission that Behavioral Science professor and Honors Program director Dr. Tracie Burke believes is a critical piece of the Lasallian charism.
It may be the most inclusive program on our campus, inviting all constituencies (faculty, staff, students, Brothers, alumni, family, and friends) to serve together to improve our community,” comments Burke. “It educates the whole person by introducing students to the vast needs in Memphis and empowering them to make a difference. In so doing it certainly demonstrates concern for the poor and draws attention to the need for social justice. And of course, our SOS volunteers participate because of their faith, whether that faith is in God, humanity, or simply their ability to change the world in small but important ways.
While Dr. Burke has overseen and advised the leadership team, the core group of students who orchestrates the 30-day service project operates almost entirely autonomously. Beginning in July, the team held bi-monthly, three-hour meetings to determine which agencies will be contacted, and build on their contacts at those agencies throughout the course of the summer to solidify the service opportunities. In addition, these students also learn how to plan each of these events, along with a campus-wide kickoff and finale, which fell on the Friday of Alumni and Parents Weekend this year. CBU’s “September of Service: 30 Days of Good Deeds” was organized by the following student leaders:
Every year, SOS has also added additional Memphis-based agencies to its roster of partners. This year, students had the chance to volunteer with the Brian Callies Foundation at their “Goat Days” event, along with the free music venue non-profit, Levitt Shell. These organizations also demonstrate the versatility of service opportunities that members of the CBU community get the chance to immerse themselves in. On one day, volunteers might be heading to an agency specializing in animal rescue, and a senior care facility the next. If you are part of a local non-profit organization and wish to partner with next year’s September of Service: 30 Days of Good Deeds, please contact Dr. Tracie Burke: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out photos from September of Service: 30 Days of Good Deeds, below, or visit: https://www.facebook.com/septemberofservice/photos/?tab=albums