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Students spend Labor Day weekend giving back

Most students enjoy their first four-day weekend of the semester by visiting home, going to the beach or just sleeping in.

Despite the nearly 100-degree late summer heat, a group of 80 students took a different route as UH’s Center for Student Involvement, the Metropolitan Volunteer Program and Generation One teamed up for their first Day of Service this Labor Day.

Students help clean up debris during the first Day of Service.  |  Courtesy of Ian Todd

“We were excited to have that many people,” said Generation One Volunteer Coordinator Katie Mueller. “It was a great turnout.”

The volunteers were split into four groups and cleaned up around the Third Ward for those who needed and sought assistance. The home of an 85-year-old, bedridden woman was painted, and her lawn was tidied. The lot between the homes of two other elderly women was also cleaned. Debris hidden in tall grass presented a hazard for the elderly. The outside of Generation One was also maintained, including mowing the yard and pulling weeds.

After the hard labor was done, the students met for lunch and reflection at Generation One, a ministry and academy committed to spiritually and physically rebuilding the Third Ward.

“I wanted to get involved. I’ve been trying to get involved and there’s plenty of opportunities,” said business finance junior Lawrence Varnado II.

Kinesiology junior and MVP Director Tierra Parks said she hopes the Day of Service will become a new UH tradition.

“This semester we were a little nervous because it’s the first weekend of school,” Parks said. “People are going home and we were worried about the weather, but we talked to the students and they loved it. They were very interested in coming back out and doing it again. Nobody even complained about it being too hot or having to wake up early, which is what I thought was going to be the main [complaint], but nobody complained, everybody liked it. So I definitely see us continuing in the future.”

For students who are interested in getting involved and helping both the UH campus and the community, MVP is having the first information meeting of the year at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9 in the UC Ballroom.

“I would really encourage anyone who is thinking about doing it to definitely do it.” Varnado said.

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