Hundreds of freshmen gathered in Centennial Mall yesterday morning, despite the rising temperatures, to volunteer their time and efforts towards servicing and aiding 27 local organizations for the ninth annual Big Red Blitz. These students were loaded on buses and sent all over, donating their final day of MASTER Plan to organizations such as Hotel Inc, Habitat for Humanity and the Hope House.
The volunteer event, created through a partnership between Housing and Residence Life and the ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships, takes place at the end of MASTER Plan. It allows new students to become incorporated with volunteer service opportunities in Bowling Green, as well as allows them to serve four hours of community service for any one of the organizations represented at the Blitz.
Aurelia Spaulding is the communications and marketing coordinator for the ALIVE Center. She and other members involved with this event worked to make all freshmen well aware of this opportunity long before it took place. MASTER Plan students started receiving emails for the Blitz after registering with housing, encouraging them to sign up and volunteer.
“When they signed in to MASTER Plan over the weekend, they got information for where to go and details about the projects,” she said.
Upon arrival, several Western Leaders were set up at tables, each representing one of the many organizations represented. “Blitzers,” or those freshmen participating in the Blitz, signed up for the organization of their choice, receiving a packet of information about the work they would be doing that day.
Emily Bottom, a senior from Shelbyville, has been part of this event for four years, starting as a MASTER Plan participant and now assisting in overseeing and organizing the Blitz. This event helped her meet new people her freshman year, and become integrated into the community.
“You get out there, as a freshman, and integrate yourself in the Bowling Green community,” she said.
While most ventured out by bus to their volunteer sites, some remained on campus to fulfill their service hours. A group of ten gathered in the rounded rooms of Tate Page Hall to assist Susan Morris, a representative from the Bowling Green International Festival, in completing several DIY crafts for the upcoming Festival.
Caitlin Ward, a freshman from Clay City, Ky, chose to volunteer for this organization because it appealed to her love of traveling.
“It seemed fitting,” she said.
Blitzers worked until three that afternoon, ending their day with catered lunches and a closing reflection.
“You are going to be here for eight to nine months of the year, this is your home away from home,” Lauren Cunningham, community engagement coordinator for the ALIVE Center, said to the crowd of freshmen before the day began. “You need to be familiar with what Bowling Green is all about… this couldn’t happen if you weren’t here.”