It was a charity or service organization's dream: Dozens of able-bodied Kansas University students donated several hours of time to clean animal cages, sort clothes, clean furniture and help recycle old paint.
About 175 students went to 17 sites Saturday morning to kick off the school year with the Center for Community Outreach's Hawk Week Service Project.
"The whole purpose of this is to give freshmen and the others coming back to Lawrence an idea of the opportunities," said E.J. Reedy, one of the co-directors of the center, which refers volunteers to more than 40 agencies in the area.
Freshman Jasmin Smith, who is leaning toward a major in veterinary science, started her morning cleaning animal dishes at the Lawrence Humane Society. Smith is allergic to cats, however, and she spent the rest of the morning playing with puppies outside.
Smith said she's glad she joined the service project, and might volunteer at the Humane Society in the future.
At the city's Household Hazardous Waste Collection site, 711 E. 23rd, KU students joined Hallmark Cards Inc. employees and other volunteers to sort paint, batteries and other tossed-out items that can be recycled or re-used.
John Roth, a freshman, said that he signed up to work on a Habitat for Humanity project, but that all the slots were taken. Instead, he donned a white bodysuit to protect his clothes as he pried open old paint cans at the hazardous waste collection area.
"Volunteering is volunteering," Roth said. "I'm glad I'm involved."
Reedy said that the center relies on continued student involvement, and that Saturday's service project attracted some future volunteers.
-- Chris Koger's phone message number is 832-7126. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.