ServeAkron spends a Saturday getting Dirty

By Judy Nelson, Arts & Life Writer

Having registered for the ServeAkron’s Super Service Saturday event through OrgSync, nineteen UA student volunteers boarded the Roo Express shortly before 11:00 a.m. on Saturday at the Student Union. They headed for St. Mary’s Parish, located a few minutes away from campus.

Super Service Saturday is a monthly event sponsored by Student Life with the goal of connecting students who have a desire to serve with local volunteer opportunities. They were dressed warmly as the day was overcast and chilly.

Heather Saling, Graduate Assistant for Civic Engagement in the Department of Student Life and leader for the day’s activities, asked the student volunteers if any of them had participated in a Super Service Saturday before. She was surprised when no hands were raised, but the lack of response didn’t dampen her enthusiasm.

“Wow!  I guess we’ll learn what this is all about together then,” Saling said.  “It’s my first time too, and I’m really excited!”

She was thrilled with the turnout for Saturday’s event and impressed by how hard the students worked.

“We work with our community partner organizations and agencies to schedule events so our students can reach out and give back to the Akron community,” Saling said.

Upon arrival at the parish, the students had stepped off the bus to find themselves facing an array of gardening tools and equipment like lawn mowers, weed-whackers, leaf blowers, rakes and clippers. Heather and Lorri March, a full-time Student Life staff member, helped organize the students into work groups, assigning equipment and duties.

In short order, the air was filled with the buzz and whir of lawn equipment. After donning rubber gloves, several students scattered across the parish grounds, weeding long-neglected flowerbeds, raking and clearing leaves and debris.

Jane Ellis, a parish member, expressed her heartfelt appreciation to some of the students as they worked with her to clear the beds that bordered the entrance to the church.

“Everything looks so much better,” Ellis said. “We are so grateful for your help.  You are all angels!”

The two hours passed quickly, and after thank-yous were expressed and pictures taken, the students boarded the Roo Express for the quick trip back to UA’s campus.  Reflecting upon the experience, Rebecca Marsich, Vice President of the Student Social Work League, shared that she had taken the morning off from work to participate in the event.

“I really like volunteering as a way to give back to the community,” Marsich said.

Gavann Lockhart, a junior in the Exercise Science Program with a concentration in Physiological Sciences, was happy to give his time to the Akron community as well.

Last week he and fellow Sigma Alpha Epsilon brothers helped out at another volunteer activity, the Akron Canton Food Bank’s ‘Operation Orange,’ where they sorted food during their shift of the 24-hour event.


UAkron's ServeAkron volunteers pose for after a long day of yard work
Judy Nelson
UAkron’s ServeAkron volunteers pose for after a long day of yard work