Thousands of Students Expected to Spruce up Austin Neighborhood

Feb. 16, 2011

AUSTIN, Texas — More than 1,500 University of Texas at Austin student volunteers are expected to participate in Project 2011, one of the largest one-day student- and community-run service events in the nation, on Saturday, Feb. 26. The event begins at Lanier High School at 8:30 a.m. with a welcome program that includes Representative Lloyd Doggett and Student Government President Scott Parks.

Established in 1999 by the Volunteer and Service Learning Center at The University of Texas at Austin, the project involves student volunteers, city government departments, community organizations and local businesses. Since its inception, the project has involved more than 18,000 student volunteers completing more than 57,000 hours of service in 10 Austin neighborhoods. The project has received numerous service awards, including the Keep America Beautiful National Award for Community Improvement in 2000.

This year, project sites are in North Austin and include Lanier High School, Quail Creek Park, Gethsemane Lutheran Church and Gus Garcia Recreational Center. Volunteers will repaint walls and benches, clear brush, pick up trash, plant flowers and refurbish playgrounds. More than 150 trees will be planted in the Rundberg community.

Lanier High School will be the event headquarters and the site of a community fair. Filipe Trimino, a parent support specialist at Sidney Lanier High School, said, "Lanier High School made a big effort this year to provide a space where folks can meet each other and be involved in the education system, and this event fits in perfectly with that goal."

In addition to the service effort during the day, Project 2011 will include a community resource fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The fair will provide information from a variety of community resources, including the University Federal Credit Union, workshops for children and entertainment for families.

"The Project is one of our most exciting community engagement events," said Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement. "There is great synergy among our students, community members and local businesses that results in an improved Austin and stronger connections between the university and these neighborhoods."

For more information on Project 2011, contact The University of Texas at Austin Volunteer and Service Learning Center at 512-471-6161, log on to utproject.org or send an e-mail theproject.ut@gmail.com.

For more information, contact: Leslie Blair, Div. of Diversity & Community Engagement, 512 232 4621; Charlotte Hockens and Jill Hokanson, Div. of Diversity & Community Engagement.