TUSCALOOSA,AL- This summer, 9 University of Alabama students traveled to New York City for a one week trip focused on community service. During their week, each student logged 25 hours of service and the group collectively returned with 1,257 photos of themselves standing in and around different service sites.
While in NYC the students averaged 3.5 hours of service in soup kitchens and the Food Bank each day. In their free time, they experienced all the city had to offer like shopping, seeing Broadway shows, and avoiding giving a dollar to a man they fed that morning to ensure they had enough to buy another “I ♥ NY" tee.
When asked about her experience student leader Maggie West said, “It was amazing to help the less fortunate out during the day. In just two hours of sorting food at the Food Bank we were able to help hundreds of families.” West does understand though that she missed out on helping upwards of 30 families to take pictures of the group. “I find it is very important to have pictures to put in our alumni magazine to promote funding for future trips.” Pictures are a necessity for people to donate large sums of money to service trips; West’s pictures assured that future volunteers would not have to spend too much of their parent’s money on these trips to vacation-like cities. Sources have confirmed that the aforementioned 30 families do understand.
A couple students got the opportunity to help rebuild a house that was damaged in recent storms. Whenever these students got tired and felt they needed a break from what the home owner, Jon Herold, does every day, they would stop and pose for a quick three photos (two “serious about service” poses and one goofy picture). By asking Herold to take the photos they were able to sleep better at night knowing they gave him an opportunity to take a break and catch his breath. These breaks allow for more than the Herold family to benefit from the service; the volunteers were also able to create Facebook albums to broadcast to their friends that they are good people and deserve some praise for the deeds they have done
Three times a year, the University of Alabama sends students all over the country (besides the non-vacation destinations that obviously don’t need any help) for a few hours of service,thousands of pictures, and weeks’ worth of positive press releases. Service manager Ruth Montgomery notes “Our students touch so many lives on these trips.They are really dedicated to making an impact on others.Maybe your son or daughter is interested in making an impact. They should consider UA.”
While statistics show college service groups spend more time in the car than doing service, these trips are about so much more than service. It’s also about giving the students an experience they will never forget. How does Alabama ensure they will never forget? Pictures.