Mahatma Gandhi was an individual who did great things every day, and in commemoration of his life and his example, Volunteer USF, along with Sigma Sigma Rho and Sigma Beta Rho, is sponsoring National Gandhi Day of Service.
The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday at MLK Plaza, where Indian sights, sounds and traditions will be showcased. A prominent speaker will commence events. The Students of India Association (SIA) will follow with a drum performance and a traditional dance routine. Completing the ambiance, traditional Indian food will be served – samples of Indian tea and breakfast biscuits will create an authentic experience.
After the celebration, observation turns to service. Breaking into groups, individuals will offer time and service to one of 13 different agencies. Activities will include painting, sorting food and clothing at relief shelters, yard work, helping at Horses for the Handicapped, visiting residents at nursing homes and assisting at a local school carnival. Each of these agencies can accommodate up to 200 volunteers.
Although it is the first attempt with this event, Jason Castles, a Volunteer USF graduate assistant, has high hopes.
“It’s the first year, so it will be trial and error,” he said. “In the past, we did Make a Difference Day in October. But this year we wanted to try something different, and we’ll continue to make it bigger and better each year.”
Neda Keshani, who serves on the board of Volunteer USF, is organizing this event in hopes “for a learning experience and (to be) mind opening.” Keshani participated in a past event in Orlando and wanted to offer the experience to USF students.
“I know a lot of people aren’t aware of Gandhi’s accomplishments,” Keshani said, “and this event would better educate them.”
There are many Indian groups on campus like SIA, as well as Greek affiliations: Sigma Beta Rho and its sisterhood, Sigma Sigma Rho. President of Sigma Beta Rho Lukasz Sokelwicz is excited for the chance to give back to the community.
“There are so many benefits. I always learn so much more in that one day than in the rest of my classes,” Sokelwicz said. “School is so much about reading and talking. (Our fraternity) is not about talk, we’re about doing. This is another way to show it.”
Open to all students, this event is not only a service to others, but also an opportunity to service oneself by learning about a different culture and honoring the endeavors of a great man.