Sign-ups for Panther Service Day to be held Thursday

Maria Ruettiger, Staff Reporter

The Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism will be holding Panther Service Day sign-ups on Thursday.

Crystal Brown, Assistant Director of Civic Engagement, said Panther Service Day has been held every spring semester since 2003.

“Panther Service Day is one of our four major service days that we do each year. So, we send students out in small groups of 10 to 25 typically,” Brown said. “(They) do a two-hour volunteer project at one of our local non-profits.”

Alex Martens, a graduate assistant for College of Student Affairs Program, said that volunteering for Panther Service Day has Eastern students not only helping with the community, but becoming closer with the citizens.

Martens said since this is his first year working for the Panther Service Day, it reminds him of a smaller version of “Jump Start,” which is when all the freshmen volunteer in the beginning of the fall semester.

“To have kind of a continuous of (Jump Start) where you have all the different students throughout EIU that come together and volunteer in the number of different community projects is pretty cool,” Martens said.

This year they are going to be going to about 12 to 13 different projects, Brown said.

Some of the places that these groups or individuals will be helping out at are in Ashmore cleaning the fire trucks; helping with Fit to Serve by preparing the gardens for this growing season; Standing Stone Community Center; Camp New Hope; Douglas Hart Nature Center and the Five Mile House. 

They are offering a new place to volunteer at which is called Aikman Wildlife Adventure.

Brown said there will be plenty of other places to choose to volunteer at that people are specifically interested in.

“We are excited to send students to (Aikman Wildlife Adventure). It is the only wildlife preserve here in the state of Illinois,” Brown said. “So students will not only be helping with painting and landscaping …  but they have the opportunity to see wild animals that you don’t normally see unless you go to a zoo.”

She said to participate in this day of service, students can either sign up individually or with a group of people.

To sign up individually they can go to the civic engagement website and go to the ‘Volunteer now’ page and sign up for whatever project that they want to do, she said.

For groups like student organizations that want to keep their members together, they need to go to the Panther Service Day website and click on the link to sign up as a group to fill out the form, Brown said.

If any one group or individual wants to be part of this they are asked to try to sign up by Thursday because that will guarantee them a shirt that they ask for in their size, Brown said.

She said in total they had 20 organizations and 300 students that participated in the day of service last year.

“There are not a lot of schools that do a large spring service event. So this is actually pretty unique for EIU to get to do this,” Martens said.

Martens said this an opportunity to get to give back to the community, but students are able to meet other students that that want to make a difference.

Panther Service Day will be Saturday, April 6, and check in will be at 9:15.

Maria Ruettiger can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].