Project 2008 Involves Massive Volunteer Effort in Montopolis Area Saturday, Feb. 23

In the spirit of volunteerism, about 2,000 students, faculty and staff members from The University of Texas at Austin will join residents of the Montopolis community in east Austin for a massive neighborhood clean-up and beautification initiative called Project 2008 on Saturday, Feb. 23.

Working in shifts from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the volunteers will help pick up trash, pull and chop weeds near a children's resource center, paint some local churches and plant about 400 sapling trees in public areas, said Ravi Naik, chairman of Project 2008. He said the project, sponsored by the university's Student Volunteer Board, reinforces a service tradition associated with being a part of the university community.

"It's so great to see students from the university take time out of their Saturday to help make a difference for the people in this neighborhood," said Naik. "It is volunteers like these that give The University of Texas at Austin the outstanding reputation it has today."

He said eight Capitol Metro buses would transport volunteers to the work site from the Student Services Building on Dean Keeton at University Drive. He urged volunteers to call ahead to sign up for shifts and transportation to and from the work site.

Partnering with Keep Austin Beautiful since 1999, the university's annual volunteer projects have amounted to more than 9,000 student volunteers working in four different neighborhoods in Austin for more than 36,000 hours. In the first five years of the event, students have painted or landscaped more than 70 local homes, five schools, two community centers, a public housing complex and many other sites.

Naik said volunteers may register online or sign up Saturday morning at the Student Services Building at 100 West Dean Keeton St.

"The goal is to create a safer and cleaner environment and to connect university students with the Austin community," said Naik. He said more information is available by calling 512-471-6161, or sending an e-mail to