Service Project Benefits Local Schoolchildren

July 01, 2012 | Rosa Jimenez

What does being a good neighbor mean? For college students living away from home, the phrase had a new meaning this past school year. Through a service project organized by the Associated Students of Walla Walla University (ASWWU), students collected money and books to benefit local schoolchildren.

Students participating in the project, "Coloring Without Lines," raised nearly $10,000 to help fund after-school programs at nearby Davis Elementary School, Meadow Brook Intermediate School and Sager Middle School, all in College Place, Wash. Funds for the project continue to come in.

In addition, about 100 books were donated through a book donation drive, according to Alisa Oberg, ASWWU's social vice president for 2011–12.

The initiative was created to help bring the community together. "That's where the name of the project came from," says Oberg. "We want to make this a community without lines and barriers and are working with the College Place School District to do that."

The kickoff event for the service project was Splash for Cash, during which students donated books to dive into the university's Tausick Memorial Pool and claim money from the bottom of the pool.

One of the most popular events was The Benefit of the Arts, a new event created by Oberg. Students dressed in their best and headed to the local Power House Theatre, where they were serenaded by the university's big band ensemble while they bid on student art. The benefit raised about $5,000 through ticket sales and the art auction.

For The Amazing Race fundraiser in February, students participated in an Ironman-style competition, which combined running, long boarding and swimming. Registration fees were earmarked for the service project.

During review week, students could relieve stress by smashing an old car with a sledge hammer two times for free and more times with the donation of a book or a dollar.

Students voted with their cash for their favorite band at The Battle of the Bands event, during which five student bands competed for an encore.

Other fundraisers included a yard sale, a swim-a-thon and a gift-matching program.

Every year the university's student body organization selects a service project, typically to benefit an international cause. This is the first time students have selected a local project.