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Archive for Friday, April 9, 2010

Volunteers scramble to log 100,000 hours

Alex Chavez, 8, gets wound up in a game of Twister Thursday at KU's Burge Union. Volunteers from the KU community are hoping to perform 100,000 hours of community service as a KU provost office initiative and as part of chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little's inauguration.

Alex Chavez, 8, gets wound up in a game of Twister Thursday at KU's Burge Union. Volunteers from the KU community are hoping to perform 100,000 hours of community service as a KU provost office initiative and as part of chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little's inauguration.

April 9, 2010

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Six-year-old Sunny Lange spent a fun-filled hour Thursday with volunteers on Kansas University’s campus.

Volunteers short of 100,000-hour goal

Chancellor Gray-Little challenged the KU community to volunteer 100,000 hours before her inauguration. The tally is at 80,000. Enlarge video

But fun was not the only purpose. The hour — one of many spent by volunteers working with Sunny and other kids from the Boys and Girls Club — goes toward a lofty goal set by KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little: 100,000 hours of volunteer work, or a “Semester of Service,” before her inauguration on Sunday.

Nadia Jessop, KU graduate student, right, helps Elizabeth Neuman, 5, make a paper flower Thursday at KU's Burge Union. Volunteers from the KU community are hoping to perform 100,000 hours of community service as a KU provost office initiative and as a part of chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little's inauguration. Kids from the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club participated on Thursday with KU volunteers in playing musical chairs, Twister and making arts and craft items.

Nadia Jessop, KU graduate student, right, helps Elizabeth Neuman, 5, make a paper flower Thursday at KU's Burge Union. Volunteers from the KU community are hoping to perform 100,000 hours of community service as a KU provost office initiative and as a part of chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little's inauguration. Kids from the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club participated on Thursday with KU volunteers in playing musical chairs, Twister and making arts and craft items.

Sunny, however, was oblivious to the ambitious initiative designed to increase volunteerism on campus.

“We’re painting,” he said. “I’m painting a fish.”

Essy Sonora, center, slaps a high-five with Erin Atwood, Kansas University sophomore, Topeka, during a game of musical chairs Thursday at KU’s Burge Union. Atwood is a co-coordinator of Into the Streets, a KU community volunteer program.

Essy Sonora, center, slaps a high-five with Erin Atwood, Kansas University sophomore, Topeka, during a game of musical chairs Thursday at KU’s Burge Union. Atwood is a co-coordinator of Into the Streets, a KU community volunteer program.

But maybe he did catch on to the chancellor’s specific effort to get KU more involved in the community.

“It’s a Jayhawk fish,” he said.

Despite the hours logged with Sunny and his friends, the volunteers were about 20,000 hours short of the goal as of Thursday. A Web site is tracking the hours at www2.ku.edu/~kuworks/cgi-bin/service/index.php, where students and faculty log in to record their volunteering.

But KU student and volunteer Greg Loving said that even if they don’t reach the goal, the initiative has made an impact.

“The important thing is getting people out and helping them understand what their community has to offer,” said Loving, co-director of another volunteer initiative, Into the Streets Week, which is happening this week in conjunction with the chancellor’s challenge.

Loving and a group of volunteer coordinators met with Gray-Little on Thursday morning to update their progress. He said the chancellor’s commitment to volunteering further motivated the group.

“Lawrence gives so much to the University of Kansas,” he said. “It’s important that we give something back to them.”

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