Ouachita’s Fall 2020 Tiger Serve Day sees strong turnout despite pandemic

October 02, 2020 – Julia Shands

Ouachita Baptist University’s Elrod Center for Family and Community held its Fall 2020 Tiger Serve Day event on Saturday, Sep. 26, with 116 teams and 850 total volunteers participating. A total of 112 projects also were completed around the Arkadelphia community, despite physical distancing and other changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as Ouachita students, faculty and staff reflected this year’s theme, “Back to the Streets.”

Several adjustments were made to Tiger Serve Day in order for the Ouachita community to safely give back to the city. In previous years, volunteers would work closely with an Arkadelphia resident by assisting with indoor house projects, yard work or painting. This year, teams of eight or fewer people were given only outdoor tasks, were required to physically distance and wear face coverings and assigned to projects such as cleaning up streets, neighborhoods and the outsides of businesses and schools.

“Because of COVID, we switched gears and served our community in very tangible ways,” said Judy Duvall, associate director of the Elrod Center. “We all live in Arkadelphia, we all receive so much from our community, and I think it’s just wonderful that we have the opportunity to give back.”

“A lot of safety measures have been taken to minimize contact between people as much as possible, like having teams work directly at their work sites,” said Caleb West, a senior biomedical sciences major from Marion, Ark., and member of the Tiger Serve Day Leadership Team. “The day was still great just knowing that we’re serving our community and the people in it and ultimately doing God’s work.”

While this semester’s Tiger Serve Day looked different than past years, it allowed the Fall 2020 Tiger Serve Day Leadership Team to consider new ways of serving.

“I think helping clean up our community and going back to the streets gives us a sense of pride in the place that we live in,” said Kallen Smith, a sophomore biomedical sciences major from Jonesboro, Ark., and member of the Tiger Serve Day Leadership Team. “It helps us respect our community and realize how thankful we are for it.”

The Fall 2020 event also placed an emphasis on thanking Arkadelphia’s city officials. Each team was given a card to sign and to deliver to the city’s police officers, firefighters and sanitation crews. 

“I think it is such a great and special thing that Tiger Serve Day gives us an opportunity to reach out and thank the people that are loving and serving Arkadelphia year round,” said Emily Dodson, a sophomore Christian studies/Christian ministries and Biblical studies double major from Trussville, Ala., and Fall 2020 Tiger Serve Day volunteer. “I love that we were able to do our part in showing them that they are so appreciated and loved.”

For more information, contact the Elrod Center at (870) 245-5320 or visit www.obu.edu/serve.

This article was originally published by Ouachita Baptist University at www.obu.edu/stories

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