By Brittany McMillen ’22
On April 23, 2022, AC students participated in the college’s 12th annual GreenServe service event, where volunteer projects are focused on environmental responsibility and sustainability. Co-sponsored by THINK and the Austin College Service Station, this event has generated over 3,500 service hours for volunteering students since the project began in 2010. It has also spawned numerous collaborations with area non-profits and other organizations within the community.
Students, alone and in organizations, are encouraged to sign up in the weeks leading up to GreenServe. During the week of the event, smaller gatherings are normally hosted to raise awareness about the upcoming service day. This year, THINK hosted an art night, where students got to make wearable buttons and other art using recycled materials, and a “Beengo” bingo night, where the hosts provided facts about bees and how they are an integral part of the ecosystem facing immense environmental pressure. Bees were the theme of this year’s event.
At 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning, all the students, staff, and faculty that signed up to volunteer gathered at the College Green, where they received official GreenServe 2022 T-shirts and donuts provided by Momo’s as a send off before they began volunteering. Then teams of students, each with a THINK member as their site leader for the day, peeled off to various places in the Sherman/Denison community to complete or assist with a service project.
At the Sherman and Pottsboro community gardens, students worked to maintain beds and prepare them for further planting. At two Habitat for Humanity sites, students in Lambda Chi fraternity worked to organize and maintain the Restore thrift store warehouse, while the CHAMPS disability advocacy group on campus continued construction on a historic 100-year-old home site near in Denison. At Eisenhower State Park and Sneed Prairie, students in organizations such as Rho Lambda Theta and Gamma Gamma Gamma completed regular maintenance needs like trail clearing and fence repair. At multiple highways, Alpha Phi Omega and Service Station board members collected trash. In Sherman’s downtown square, yet another group of students assisted with tabling and logistics for the Texoma Earth Day Festival and recycling event hosted by the City of Sherman.
A unique feature to this year’s GreenServe was the increased opportunity for groups to complete service on campus. This semester, the Center for Environmental Studies and THINK launched the “Adopt a Butterfly Bed” on campus. The goal is to revamp our campus flower beds with native, perennial grasses and flowers that are planted and maintained by student organizations throughout the year. Alpha Phi Omega, the Drakes, and Theta Sigma Chi were among some of the groups that adopted a bed and spent their GreenServe morning on campus working in their beds.