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USF to ‘Stampede’ area with community service

Volunteer USF (VUSF) has organized several volunteer opportunities in the past, including blood drives, tutoring and mentoring programs; but the Stampede of Service (SOS) aims to combine several projects with the many individuals participating on a wider scale.

This Saturday, nearly 2,000 students, faculty and staff are expected to participate in the largest community service project ever sponsored by VUSF, in conjunction with Student Government and the Center for Civic Engagement and volunteerism.

Maxon Victor, former student body president and the coordinator and founder of SOS, hopes to not only “connect students with the Tampa Bay community,” but also “send the message to (the area) that we are Tampa’s University.”

Victor came up with the idea of SOS from an Alternate Spring Break trip he attended in 2005. While in Atlanta, he assisted in rebuilding an elderly woman’s home. Victor was so touched by her gratitude that he wanted to continue participating in similar projects, but on a much larger scale. Afterward, he organized the Stampede of Service, where he saw his dream come to life – students helping their community.

Victor hopes that the “correlation with the weeklong Martin Luther King celebration (will help) people to understand and celebrate helping others.”

SOS will consist of projects at 40 different sites, such as Lowry Park and The Ronald McDonald House, and will be concentrating on service projects such as environmental beautification, helping the homeless population, as well as holding various activities with children and the elderly. Participants will meet at 8 a.m. in the MLK Plaza on Saturday for sign-in, after which everyone will be bussed to their locations and return at noon for a cookout.

Breakfast will also be provided.

SOS is part of the Week of Service 2007, organized by the Center for Civic Engagement and Volunteerism. Other events held throughout the week include a Volunteer Fair at 11 a.m. on Thursday, followed by a social later that night. For more information on volunteer opportunities through USF, visit and click on the VUSF link, visit the VUSF office in Phyllis P. Marshall Center Room 246, or call (813) 974-5053.