“Over the last three years, we’ve seen a steady increase in the number of students participating in this event, in our first-year service project and our MLK Day project,” said Mark Dochterman, director of the UIS Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center.
Nearly 130 students were deployed to service projects at the Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County ReStore, M.E.R.C.Y Communities, the Springfield Urban League, Family Service Center, Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach, Central Illinois Foodbank and the St. John’s Breadline.
“I just wanted to come out and help the community,” said UIS freshman Mariah Rodriguez. “I saw the Family Service Center listing and I wanted to get to know more about it. We’re going to be painting a white wall blue, so it makes it friendlier.”
Like Rodriguez, first-year students Amanda Greenan and Tori Covington are just starting to explore their new home of Springfield.
“You get thrown into a new town and you should definitely get to know your community and go and volunteer to make sure you help out,” said Covington.
Dochterman hopes many of the students participating in the Service-A-Thon will get involved in the year-round service projects at the Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center.
“We hope that if this is the first time a student has served, it encourages them to do it again and get involved with something over a longer period of time.”
This is the eighth year that UIS has held a Service-A-Thon during the first week of classes.