More than 1,000 University of Texas at Austin students are expected to participate on Feb. 27 in The Project 2010, one of the largest student- and community-run service events in the nation.
Established in 1999 by the university's Volunteer and Service Learning Center (now part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement), The Project has grown into an extensive collaborative effort involving student volunteers, city government departments, community organizations and local businesses.
Project 2010 will be held in the St. John's and Coronado Hills neighborhoods in northeast Austin. The UT students will complete gardening and landscaping projects and outdoor repairs at Pickle Elementary School, Webb Middle School and Reagan High School, as well as several homes in the area and neighborhood public parks and creeks.
In addition to the repairs and beautification by the student volunteers, Project 2010 features an extensive community resource fair to be held at the Virginia L. Brown Recreation Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The fair will provide information from a variety of community resources, entertainment for families, financial workshops provided by University Federal Credit Union and a Home Depot Kids' Workshop.
From noon until 1 p.m., Project 2010 will hold a special ceremony to thank the community and the student volunteers, and to pay tribute to the late Ed Bridges. Bridges was a firefighter and community liaison for the Austin Fire Department, as well as a member of the Project steering committee. A flag flown over the United States capitol will be presented to his family. U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett and University of Texas at Austin Student Government President Liam O'Rourke will speak at the ceremony.
Since its inception, The Project has involved more than 17,000 student volunteers completing more than 54,000 hours of service in eight Austin neighborhoods. The Project has received numerous service awards, including the Keep America Beautiful National Award for Community Improvement in 2000.
Over the years, the community partners that work to design the service sites and resources has grown to include the Austin Police Department, Austin Fire Department, Austin Parks & Recreation, Downtown Austin Community Court, Solid Waste Services, Keep Austin Beautiful, University Federal Credit Union and The Home Depot. The annual steering committee also includes several neighborhood organizations in the selected community, area school representatives and interested residents.
According to Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement, "The success of this tremendous service event comes from the willingness of our community service partners, the local business community and UT student volunteers to donate time, talent, supplies and equipment."