Students completed nearly 40,000 hours of service to the community during the 2017-18 academic year through activities with their student organizations and athletic teams.
The 39,810 student service hours is a 59 percent increase from the previous year and is in addition to the thousands of hours students give back through student teaching, clinical and unpaid internships.
“Our students are proud to be members of the Toledo community and are passionate about getting involved to make a difference while building their leadership skills at the same time,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said.
As part of the community engagement initiative launched last year, the University is updating processes to better track the activities of students, staff and faculty to measure the impact UT has on the community. The reporting of student service and philanthropy activities moved from an annual event to a semester basis this academic year, and next year students will be able to record their activities as they complete the service to ensure more accurate reporting.
“We know our students are out in our community giving back on a daily basis, and we are putting the processes in place to be sure we better count, connect and communicate those efforts,” said Margie Traband, director of strategic initiatives in the Office of Government Relations, who is leading the community engagement initiative.
Among the service activities this year was the Big Event, which is the largest, student-run service project. This year, 823 students provided 2,100 service hours volunteering at 43 sites completing projects such as weeding, picking up garbage, and recovering and recycling bicycles.
“It is amazing to see the amount of people that come to the Big Event for the sole purpose of giving back to the community that surrounds our campus,” said Gabrielle Latreille, a recreational therapy student, who was the director of the 2018 Big Event. “It is our chance as students to say thank you to all of the residents that do so much for us. I truly have Big Event and the people I have worked with through this organization to thank for forming me into the person I am today.”
UT students also spent their time mentoring at-risk youth, making sandwiches to help individuals who are homeless, providing free medical services through the Community Care Clinic run by students in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, building homes with Habitat for Humanity, spending time with seniors through the Adopt-a-Grandparent program, helping families at the Ronald McDonald House, and much more.
For additional information about UT’s community engagement activities, visit utoledo.edu/engagement.