“We had over 4500 student volunteers sign up, and check-in has been going really, really well,” Williams said.
By Mary Elizabeth Shivers
On a chilly Saturday that turned windy, hundreds of Texas State University students braved the 52-degree weather and gathered in front of Bobcat Stadium for the 2018 Bobcat Build event.
As explained by the Texas State University website, Bobcat Build is “the largest service project on campus” in which “students volunteer their time to complete various service projects throughout the community such as landscaping, painting, or clean-ups at residents’ homes, local schools, parks, churches, and neighborhoods.”
“It’s amazing,” said Tabitha Williams, one of the coordinators for Student Involvement, as she described the amount of support for the project. “We have student organizations; we have company and staff organizations. We have everybody coming out.”
Williams said even local and university officials had shown and given the support; Texas State President Denise Trauth and the Mayor of San Marcos, John Thomaides, joined students in the cold weather.
Bobcat Build 2018 had 21 sponsors including Mochas & Javas, McCoys Building Supply and Lolita’s cafe to name a few.
“We had over 4500 student volunteers sign up, and check-in has been going really, really well,” Williams said. This year, the committee had 320 job sites for student volunteers to work at, she said.
One of the organizations present at Bobcat Build was the Environmental Conservation Organization of which Kayla Turner, a Nutrition major standing lone guard over a wheelbarrow, was a member.
“We just do a lot of trash pickups,” explained Turner, “We do some peer education where we’ll teach them. This upcoming Earth Week, we’re going to be in the Quad tabling, educating people about why it’s important to ditch plastic water bottles, just do small steps to help the environment, stuff like that.”
Turner described her first year at Bobcat Build as “a lot warmer” and so, “nicer in that regard.”
“But I’m still excited,” asserted Turner. “There’s still a lot of people who showed up, so it’s going to be good. It’s going to be a great day. It’ll be a little bit cold, but I’ve had a good experience in the past. We’ve just done like casual lawn work, but it means a lot to the people in the community, so that’s why I like doing it.”
Turner stated that she and her group planned on gardening as well as painting benches for somebody, which Turner noted “could be a little messy with the wind.”
Bailey Urschel, a Texas State sophomore also confirmed his enjoyment in participating in Bobcat Build, asserting that he “enjoyed helping the community” and “helping people out.”
While describing last year’s Bobcat Build, Urschel said, “It was successful. It was fun. I went and worked with a lady with her garden, and she has a big garden and, well, we dug up holes, mended the plants, mulched, did all that. It was pretty fun. It was interactive, so I liked it.”
When asked if he thought the community appreciated the students’ work, he replied that he hoped so.
“I mean, there’s I don’t know how many volunteers we have doing this,” he observed, “And all I know is that they’re trying to help the community out too. Hopefully, they appreciate it.”
After picking up their shirts and their tools, the students dispersed to go to their various job sites. The area which was filled with people was emptying.
Will there be such an enormous crowd next year? If students remain as eager for this project as Turner and Urschel were, then it is quite likely that there will be.
For more information on Bobcat Build, go to this site: http://www.bobcatbuild.txstate.edu.