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Volunteerism is important part of Ohio University experience

5/10/2004

By Debbie Ehrman and Cassie Lynott

Volunteerism and community service continue to be strong parts of the college experience for many Ohio University students, as evidenced by a pair of recent activities on campus.

EMPTY BOWLS PROJECT

Empty Bowls Project photo by Rick Fatica"Empty Bowls," a service project coordinated by Ohio University's First Year Social Work Graduate Students and the Center for Community Service, was held on May 3 at The Oak Room and Toscano's restaurants. The restaurants supported this fundraiser by serving a meal to those who purchase bowls made by area students.

"We were excited to have this opportunity for community members to raise money for those in need," Janeece Henes, Community Service Corps coordinator in the Center for Community Service, said. "This event is another example of students and faculty at Ohio University working with the Athens community to make a difference. We live in a wonderful community, and these types of learning experiences are an important part of the college experience for many Ohio University students."

To support this project, empty ceramic bowls and tickets to the event were sold for a suggested donation of $10. Volunteers sold the bowls at Ohio University's Center for Community Service in Baker Center and at College Gate on April 30 and May 1, as well as at Kroger Food and Pharmacy on May 1. Those who purchased bowls and tickets were able to take them to the Oak Room or Toscano's on May 3 for the event.

At the restaurants, a simple meal of soup and bread was be served. The meals were served in the purchased bowls and guests were encouraged to keep them as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world. The proceeds of the event will go to the Salvation Army's Food Assistance Program in Athens County. The empty bowls were made by volunteers from Ohio University, Morrison Elementary, Trimble Middle, Athens Middle, East Elementary and Alexander Junior High Schools.

Empty Bowls Project photo by Rick Fatica"Volunteering offers an opportunity to do something outside of the usual college routine and to experience what the Athens community has to offer," said student Leigh Anne Rasmussen of Port Clinton, Ohio. "It also sets the tone as something I intend to do after graduating from college."

Jamie Brock, a student from Fairborn, Ohio, said, "There are a lot of needs in the community that can be met by everybody pitching in. This is an opportunity to strengthen the community. Where one person has a need, another person has the strength to meet that need."

The Social Work graduate class coordinated this project under the direction of professor Sylvia Hawranick. The class wanted to raise public awareness of hunger in our local and global communities. The "Empty Bowls" project was a unique opporuntity for collaboration among college students, local businesses, public school students and community organizations to support hunger fighting efforts.

Information on the Center for Community Service is available online at www.ohiou.edu/commserv/.  For more information contact the center at 593-4007 or e-mail community-service@ohio.edu.  

WALK FOR A CURE

More than 1,000 people participated in Ohio University's fourth annual Moms Walk for a Cure march Saturday morning, May 1. The march, benefiting the National Breast Cancer Foundation and Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and organized by University Program Council collected approximately $8,000.

Moms Walk for a Cure photo by Denise MangenRebecca Gifford, author of "Cancer Happens: Coming of Age with Cancer," spoke to participants about her battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma including chemotherapy treatments, a successful bone marrow transplant and the illness's other restrictions on her life.

"The good news is while the cancer rates are continuing to go up, so are the survival rates," Gifford said. "As a cancer survivor myself, I'm so grateful and encouraged by the turnout."

Beginning at the Ping Student Recreation Center, the walk stretched along the Hocking River, up Richland Avenue and back to Ping, covering five kilometers. Participants were invited to walk, run or inline skate through the campus.

This year's march delighted organizers by surpassing last year's participation by at least 200 people.


Debbie Ehrman and Cassie Lynott are student employees in University Communications and Marketing.

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