OBU students and faculty ready to work at Tiger Serve Day

By Emily Van Zandt Originally Published September 20, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated September 19, 2012 at 9:30 a.m.
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Ouachita Baptist University students work on cleaning windows during last year's Tiger Serve Day. This fall's event is scheduled for Saturday.

— For more than a decade, Ouachita Baptist University students, faculty and staff have gathered twice a year to give back to the community of Arkadelphia.

The University’s Tiger Serve Day is held each September and April, organizing groups to go into the homes of seniors and to community organizations in need and do odd jobs that might otherwise go undone. This Saturday, the staff at the university’s Elrod Center for Family and Community Outreach expects around 1,000 volunteers.

“The majority of the work is in the homes of senior adults who may not be able or can’t afford to have work done,” said Judy Duvall, Elrod Center assistant director. “We also go to help area nonprofits and to those with disabilities. There’s a lot of yard work and tough inside jobs, like cleaning ceiling fans and windows.”

Longtime Arkadelphia resident Ann McMillion, 71, has been welcoming OBU students to her home for Tiger Serve Day since its inception.

“One of the nicest things they’ve done is to paint the back of my house where it had started to chip,” McMillion said. “They did a very professional job. They do about anything you want, and it’s a really wonderful thing.”

Much of the work McMillion relies on the students to do involves small tasks that aren’t easily hired out. This weekend, students will help in her garden — pruning, raking and helping to move large planting pots.

Nearly two-thirds of the university’s students volunteer during the service day, Duvall said, including many of the sports teams, social clubs and academic societies. Students gather for breakfast before heading off to their Tiger Serve Day assignments, and the crowd is so big that McMillion, who lives on the edge of campus, can hear them before they reach her house.

“We hear the music while they’re getting ready to come by,” McMillion said. “If the students didn’t come [to help], I’m not sure how some of this would get done.”

While the majority of volunteers are affiliated with OBU, anyone is welcome to volunteer or donate funds to assist in purchasing tools. For more information on volunteering, go to obu.edu/elrod.

Staff writer Emily Van Zandt can be reached at 501-399-3688 orevanzandt@arkansasonline.com.

Staff Writer Emily Van Zandt can be reached at 501-399-3688 or emily@syncweekly.com.

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