By Kathryn Kelman/editor-in-chief
Student, faculty, staff spend Saturday morning giving back to community
From cleaning up trash while kayaking on the Trinity River to cheering on people at the March for Babies finish line, TR Campus students, faculty and staff came together April 21 to give back to the community in its Campus Day of Service.
The day featured six projects and over 100 volunteers, said Keshia Neal, TR student development coordinator.
Inclement weather brought the kayak team in early, but team lead and TR library services assistant director Danelle Toups said the teams filled several bags of trash during the almost two hours they were on the water.
Toups said TR’s Day of Service has had the kayak teams every year, and they’re usually the first team to fill up.
“I tell my students, ‘We may not get far, but when we look out the window, it’ll look pretty,’” she said, adding that the river is part of the campus’ backyard.
Toups said what the kayak team does is important, especially around this time of year because of all of the winter trash washed into the river.
“The beginning of every summer season, it’s a lot of trash,” she said.
Toups said her team enjoyed the experience despite lightning concerns bringing them in early.
“A lot of them had never kayaked before, and after we came in they asked how they could get more involved with the sport,” she said.
Toups told the students about a deal Backwoods, who donated the kayaks to the team, offers year-round.
“They do half-price rentals if you pick up trash,” she said.
Toups, who kayaks and picks up trash on the Trinity regularly during the summer, said she enjoyed getting to introduce more people to the sport but wouldn’t feel clean again until she got home and took a “good hot shower.”
TR student Mariela Moreno participated with the March of Dimes event, which included different races for the March for Babies and a family zone that students helped with.
“We did registration for the sprint race, looked people’s names up that had already registered and registered people that hadn’t,” she said. “We also helped hand out capes for the kids and went to the finish line and cheered people on.”
TR student Alexander Chastain said they yelled their heads off, which is why they lost their voices.
“We had a lot of fun, though,” Chastain said hoarsely.
Both said they participated because they needed professional credits and their professor offered them to the girls if they volunteered.
“That’s also how we found out about it too,” Moreno said.
TR student Gabriela Duran participated with the “Pretty” Park Pavilion team, which worked with the ACH services in Fort Worth, who provide young adults, ages 18-21, with a home and help prepare them for life, she said.
Duran volunteered because she “just wanted to help out.” Duran said the team helped clean up around the houses by pulling out dead shrubs, cleaned up a playground and also helped prepare one house for another group of young adults to move into.
“It was a pretty good experience, and I learned a lot about what they do over there,” she said.
Students also went to Nash Elementary School, the Resale and Redesign Store and the Tarrant Area Food Bank.
TR student Thep Kunna participated in the Alliance Beautification Station, which was with Alliance for Children.
“We were cleaning up and also painting and organizing clothes,” Kunna said. “It was kind of fun, and everyone was really friendly and helpful.”
This was Kunna’s first volunteering experience, so it was all new to him, he said.
“I liked it even though I didn’t like waking up this morning,” he joked. “I’d been wanting to volunteer for a while so this was a good opportunity for me to start.”