Stampede of Service allows students to give back and spend time volunteering in community

Students will spend their Saturday giving back to the community. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/USF.EDU

The USF Center for Leadership & Civic Engagement (CLCE) is hosting its annual Stampede of Service (SOS) event on Saturday. 

To commemorate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, student organizations, community members, staff and faculty come together on one day to serve a variety of non-profit organizations. As USF’s largest day of service, students and faculty alike will have the opportunity to give back to the community.

Justin Fitzgerald, assistant director for the CLCE, said this event helps students connect with the organizations they choose.

“We want students to fall in love with where they go,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s really important for our Bulls to be a part of this.” 

Former student, Maxon Victor, founded SOS in 2006 with the goal of celebrating the memory of MLK. 

The inaugural event proved to be a success when over 900 students from the campus community joined to volunteer in East Tampa’s parks and neighborhoods. 

According to the CLCE’s site, the SOS  event was made a tradition from then on. 

With over 60 organizations being served by SOS, students have the options to volunteer with senior citizens, environmental activists, youth, homelessness, women’s rights and more. 

To avoid being put in an area that doesn’t interest a person, SOS allows students to choose where they’re going based on what they want to do. 

Once, a participant selects an area they’re interested in, they’ll be surrounded with people who share the same interest. According to Fitzgerald, this has resulted in students making connections and friendships with the people around them. These connections have included student-to-staff relationships that have resulted in opportunities for students. 

“Big groups are not always a good idea.” Fitzgerald said. “It’s unlikely that a group of 50 people will like the same thing.” 

According to Fitzgerald, the goal for SOS is for people to enjoy the area they choose and feel inspired enough to keep working for with the non-profit beyond the collegiate level. 

There are four MLK principles that SOS strives to celebrate: strengthen communities, empower individuals, provide justice for all and live one’s purpose. Honoring these principles throughout the event will guarantee a great time for every person involved. 

The SOS event will have its check-in at Corbett Soccer Stadium. Site Leaders will need to be there at 6:45 a.m., and participants need to be there at 7:30 a.m. Since the first 1,500 spots get filled quickly, it is crucial for participants to get there on time. 

Other tips include wearing closed-toe shoes and comfortable clothing, carrying a bottle of sunscreen and a bottle of water. A small breakfast will be provided, and there will also be a picnic outside Corbett Soccer Stadium after all the volunteers have returned to campus.