Project 2004 volunteers from The University of Texas at Austin to help revitalize Montopolis Neighborhood Saturday, Feb. 14

AUSTIN, Texas—Project 2004, one of the nation’s largest one-day service events involving student and community members, will bring together more than 2,000 volunteers from The University of Texas at Austin on Saturday (Feb. 14) to work clearing brush, landscaping playgrounds and picking up trash in the Montopolis neighborhood of southeast Austin.

“The project is designed to give back to the community while educating students in the rewards of service,” said Glen Baumgart of the Volunteer and Service Learning Center in the university’s Office of the Dean of Students. He said this is the university’s sixth annual beautification campaign in Austin.

This year the project’s headquarters will be Allison Elementary School at 515 Vargas Rd. in southeast Austin. This year’s event will center on renovating Allison Elementary School, local churches, homes, the Montopolis Recreation Center, and trail building as well as trash pickup at the Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Park.

The university volunteers will work side-by-side with residents of the neighborhood, contributors, students from the Austin Community College Riverside Campus, Austin Parks and Recreation employees, neighborhood residents and anyone else from the city who cares to join in.

Busloads of university volunteers will begin leaving The University of Texas at Austin campus at 8:30 a.m., Saturday from the East Mall Fountain area near San Jacinto Street. The volunteers will work in three-hour shifts through 4 p.m., rain or shine, Baumgart said.

The project is a student-run program of the Volunteer and Service Learning Center / Office of the Dean of Students at The University of Texas at Austin, working in partnership with Keep Austin Beautiful, Austin Parks Foundation and the people of Montopolis. Additional partnerships and support come from the neighborhood’s technology industry, including AMD, Sematch and Tokyo Electron, as well as many other companies and organizations who donate the materials needed to make the project a success, Baumgart said.

Founded in 1999, the project is one of the largest one-day student- and community-run service events in the nation. The event has brought together more than 2,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni and community volunteers annually in a spirit of service to assist a neighborhood in need. The annual volunteer project has helped neighborhoods in East Austin, South Austin and Southeast Austin. Project 2003 last year, which also was in the Montopolis area, involved trail building, shrub clearing, trash pickup and seed planting, and saved the City of Austin an estimated $100,000 in labor and materials, Baumgart said.

Students, faculty and staff members interested in volunteering may register at the Project 2004 Web site. Members of the community interested in assisting in the project may volunteer at Roy G. Guerrero Park on Grove Street or contact the Austin Parks Foundation at 512-477-1566.

For more information contact: Glen Baumgart, Office of the Dean of Students, 512-471-6161, or Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, 512-475-7847.