September 15, 2008

Case Western Reserve groups volunteer together to serve community

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Hundreds of volunteers from the university plan to participate in this year's Case for Community Day. Since its inception six years ago, individuals have donated thousands of hours to this half day of service as a way to give back to area residents and organizations.

However, this year marks a different kind of volunteer experience for some on campus: Several university departments, programs and athletic groups have volunteered to work on projects as a team.

"This may be the year we fill every volunteer request for Case for Community Day! There is a buzz in the air about participating this year, and I am excited so many people across campus are choosing to volunteer as a group or department," said Latisha James, director of the university's Center for Community Partnerships. "That's really what the spirit of Case for Community Day is all about. It's a chance to see another side of your fellow colleagues and serve the community together. It actually improves morale and creates an opportunity to bond as a department."

Today is the last day to register for a volunteer project. In addition to individuals, some of the remaining projects are large enough to accommodate campus groups or departments that would like to work as a team.

Read more about some of the groups that have already signed up to work on projects:

College of Arts and Sciences

For the first time, Cyrus Taylor, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and 12 members of his administrative team will volunteer as two teams for Case for Community Day. They will provide service for RePlay for Kids, a nonprofit organization that repairs and modifies toys for children with physical limitations, and at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens in a landscaping activity.

Case for Community Day is the first step Taylor is taking in his efforts to build a culture of social responsibility throughout the college.

The dean takes the issue of social responsibility seriously and seeks ways to instill this sense of reaching out to the community throughout the college. He recently met with Charles Fowler, the president and CEO of Fairmount Minerals in Chardon. The company has been recognized for its "Do Good. Do Well." business practices.

"Case for Community Day is an opportunity to renew our connections with and commitment to the greater Cleveland community," said Taylor. "At the same time it helps us to build a university culture of collaboration, commitment and caring."

This is essential for the university in reaching its full potential locally and in the world at large, said Taylor.

Chemistry Professor, Students

A message to volunteer is coming from a faculty member in Arts and Sciences.

As the Teagle Professorial Fellow in the department of chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences, Michael Kenney is encouraging 661 students in his Introduction to Chemistry courses to volunteer the afternoon of September 19.

The rewards will be both intrinsic with the joy of giving and also a few bonus points to towards their final grades.

"I have been encouraging students to volunteer their time for many years," said Kenney. "It is important that students develop as a whole person as part of their college years. Building the habit of giving back is a key part of that development."

His students will have the option of choosing from the mural project at the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority's University Circle Rapid Station, community projects identified by local organizations, various drives for needed items, and campus activities for children.

According to Kenney, volunteering gives students a feeling of joy in helping and a sense of belonging to both the campus community and greater community.

"I simply want students to develop habits that will serve them throughout their lives," he said.

Men's Basketball Team

Case Western Reserve's men's basketball team is used to working together to accomplish a goal, so the group's volunteer effort for Case for Community Day is no exception.

They've signed up—as a squad— a landscaping project in the Buckeye neighborhood, located about a mile and a half from the university.

Since Case for Community debuted on campus six years ago, the team has done everything from serving the residents at Ronald McDonald House Cleveland to sprucing up the East Boulevard and Fairfax neighborhoods."I am very proud of the efforts our players have put forth over the years, and this group will do great work as well," said Sean McDonnell, head men's basketball coach. "All of these projects have allowed our players to accomplish a goal while working together to help others. This togetherness will help us during the season on the court and in practice."

In addition to providing the basketball squad an opportunity to work together to complete a different kind of goal, McDonnell said he hopes the project provides the players with something even more valuable than team building.

"More than anything, I want our players to realize how fortunate they are and how effective their efforts to help others can be. I also want them to have fun and to meet the people that we'll be helping. I hope our players will enjoy their experience and will commit to serving others in their adult lives."

University Marketing and Communications

About 20 staff members from the university's Office of Marketing and Communications will spend the afternoon of Case for Community Day painting a mural and landscaping near the University Circle RTA rapid station. The mural will enhance the look of the transportation hub, considered to be a major gateway for both Cleveland Heights and Cleveland.

The marketing and communications team will join about 80 other staff, faculty and students from Case Western Reserve on the artistic project, which is based off of a design donated by celebrated Cleveland artist Hector Vega. Sarah Curry, art instructor, as well as, senior art students at Brush High School, will assist Hector on the project and help direct the team of volunteers from the university. Site volunteers also will breathe new life into an adjacent park by adding in new plants, benches, tables and a community garden.

Student-Athletes

Case Western Reserve University student-athletes representing various sports and coaches alike will come together to host a variety of Sports Clinics during Case for Community Day for 300 students from Cleveland-area schools.

The youth will get a chance to play sports like basketball, track and field, flag football, soccer and volleyball with some of the Spartan's varsity athletes. Plus, they will enjoy lunch and go home with medallions.

For more information contact Susan Griffith, 216.368.1004.

For more information contact Kimyette Finley, 216.368.0521.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, September 15, 2008 02:16 PM | News Topics: Administration, Faculty, HeadlinesMain, Staff, Students, news

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