Cleaning up the Wekiva River, building houses and painting a school auditorium were among the many ways UCF students, staff and faculty members and alumni gave back to their communities on Saturday, Oct. 9.
More than 650 volunteers participated in Knights Give Back, UCF’s annual campuswide day of service. They worked at nearly 20 sites in Orange, Seminole, Brevard, Volusia, Lake and Pinellas counties.
For the first time, Knights Give Back included a service project outside of Florida. The Dallas-Fort Worth Alumni Chapter helped with a cat adoption project in Texas.
Since the tradition began in 2007, UCF volunteers have provided several thousand hours of service on behalf of social services, the arts, animals, the environment and other causes.
“The event was a success, and everyone had a great time,” said Marlon Gutíerrez, a senior business major and the student director for Volunteer UCF, which coordinates Knights Give Back. “We look forward to adding new sites and increasing the number of volunteers next year.”
STUDENT-LED SERVICE PROJECTS INCLUDED:
— Cleaning and painting the auditorium at the Chiles Academy, a public charter school for pregnant and parenting teens in Volusia County. The group included about 15 UCF Daytona Beach students and staff and faculty members.
“The school administrators were extremely appreciative, and it was a rewarding opportunity for us to give back to the less fortunate in our community,” said Linda Bradley, assistant vice president of Academic Affairs and director of the Daytona Beach campus.
— Canoeing and cleaning the Wekiva River.
— Playing sports with youths served by Boys Town Central Florida. Most of the volunteers in this group were student-athletes on UCF’s baseball and track-and-field teams.
— Helping Pet Rescue With Judy coordinate a pet adoption fair at Waterford Lakes.
— Building homes with Habitat for Humanity in Cocoa.
— Helping to set up “The Celebration of Soul” festival in Lake County and assisting with floats for the parade.
ALUMNI-LED SERVICE PROJECTS INCLUDED:
— A clean-up effort in the Parramore area coordinated by the UCF Black and Hispanic Alumni Chapter.
— Preparing a meal for the Ronald McDonald Share-A-Meal project. Most of the volunteers in this group were from the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management Alumni Chapter.
–Cleaning Melbourne Beach. Most of the volunteers in this group were from the Space Coast Alumni Chapter.
Knights Give Back promotes civic engagement while building partnerships and making a difference in the Central Florida community. It is sponsored by the Student Government Association, Volunteer UCF and the Office of Student Involvement.