Nearly 300 students showed up early Saturday morning to participate in a service opportunity that helps the community.
Students range from brand new freshmen to experienced seniors all of whom have a desire to improve the world around them. The volunteers were divided into three groups and carpooled to different places to volunteer. Locations included the nearby Alexandria Fairgrounds, Florence’s Master Provisions and Ohio’s Bi-Okoto Cultural Preservation Institute in Norwood.
The day kicked off with everyone meeting early in the Student Union, enjoying complimentary breakfast bars and being assigned groups and site locations. Site Leader, junior Nicole Birkenheuer, has volunteered all of her three years in college.
Birkenheuer’s group served at the Bi-Okoto Cultural Institute. The group weeded, raked and picked up debris outside while inside they sorted through props and costumes.
“I love coming back and see what I have done in previous years,” Birkenheuer said as she shook out an African print fabric to fold. “Last year I scraped the walls of that room and painted a closet.”
She pointed to another room, her energy and enthusiasm showing through and truly contagious. The entire room was full of laughter, friendship and unity.
Bi-Okoto loves having the NKU volunteers and put out refreshments of fruit, chips and cookies plus a free Zumba class for any volunteer who wanted to participate.
Community Relations of Bi-Okoto, Georgina Opoku expressed, “I love how they aren’t here to gain anything but to give.” Opoku encourages all the NKU volunteers to come back give time, take classes, and become part of the multicultural environment.
Unlike Birkenheuer, many students had never volunteered before. Freshman Zaria Elery learned about the service opportunity in orientation and thought it would be a great way to meet new people and have something to do. Elery was able to accomplish those exact purposes as she knelt in the dirt pulling weeds and helping her new friends Katie Fossett a sophomore and Rachel Ramsey a junior mulch the bandstand at the Alexandria Fairgrounds.
Sandy Shaw who is in charge of work detail and publicity at the Alexandria Fairgrounds expressed her appreciation and excitement to have the NKU students volunteering.
“It’s only one day a year we have them (NKU volunteers) but the over the last six years they have been instrumental to getting the fair set up,” Shaw said.
Instrumental, the NKU volunteers truly are; during the day at the fairgrounds they swept, scrubbed, mulched, painted, and decorated the grounds to be ready for the fair which is September 2-7. Jennifer Lipps who is a senior came out with nearly 25 of her Sorority sisters from Alpha Omicron Pi, picked up a paint brush and with a smile expressed, “We focus a lot on bettering NKU which is great, but it is nice to come and focus on bettering the community.”
This past Saturday is not the only opportunity to come and serve the community. There are five service days throughout the school year available through the Norse Leadership Society– Victorfest, FSLC Gives Back, MLK Day of Service, and two yearly Service on Saturdays.