Community service strikes back at Wash. U.

| Senior Scene Editor

Remember the day you went to paint a mural at a St. Louis school? Remember how you were as painted as the mural? You can have these good times once again! From those who brought you Service First comes a continuing service opportunity called Service Second. In honor of the 10th anniversary of Service First, Service Second gives the Washington University community the opportunity to return to the schools of Service First.

Service Second is an extension of the Service First program, with one major exception—students and faculty now get to choose how they want to help. The Service Second Web site (http://communityservice.wustl.edu/sf/servicesecond) states that the grants allow “students, faculty and staff to return to any of the 12 schools that benefit from Service First in 2008, in order to complete additional projects, participate in a special event or assist the school, principal, or staff in a creative way.”

In other words, give them your ideas and they will help turn those ideas into reality. This is the chance for all those who are interested to “dream up their own projects,” Coordinator for Community Service Sarah Tillery said.

“We wanted to build on this idea of a day of service,” Tillery said. “We were trying to think of a way to celebrate Service First, and what would be a way to celebrate that the students might benefit from.”

The result was a grant program open to faculty, staff and most importantly students. According to Tillery, many of the students who participate in Service First come back wishing to repeat the experience. Planning the event, however, requires many people in the Wash. U. community devoting a lot of their time. The Community Service Office sought to find a way to make the opportunity for continuing service available to all who desired to do so—thus, Service Second was born.

“We did imagine it would be mostly students participating, but we wanted to keep it open,” Tillery said. “It’s largely students who benefit.”

Students interested in participating in Service Second can work individually or in groups; taking advantage of the grants and accessibility of the program is as easy as filling out a form. The proposal forms are located online at the Service Second Web site and are due by Sept. 19. The proposals should be semester-long projects that can be covered by grants ranging from $50-$200. If a group has a longer or more expensive project in mind, they should contact the Community Service Office, located on the second floor of the Danforth University Center. According to the Service Second Web site, these proposals will be “considered if strong need is demonstrated.”

“We’ve got money to give out, and people should take advantage of it,” Tillery said.

The next step is to send the form via fax or e-mail attachment to the principal of the school with which the applicant is interested in working. Twelve schools that participated in Service First are listed, along with contact information, on the Web site. The principals are aware of the project, according to Tillery, and are eagerly awaiting proposal forms.

“We tried to make it as easy as possible given they are not staff on [the Wash. U.] campus,” Tillery explained. The principals are also open to discuss what types of programs they feel would help their students and communities the most.

In the end, Service Second is a chance to help Wash. U. students stay connected with the St. Louis community in a way that allows everyone to benefit. St. Louis schools receive much-needed help, and members of the Wash. U. community can continue with what they started back in the beginning of fall semester when they decided that service does, indeed, come first.