Tech to Town volunteers spent Saturday morning cleaning up local parks and lakes and serving local nonprofit organizations.
More than 500 Texas Tech University students, faculty and staff spent their Saturday morning volunteering during the second annual one-day service project, Tech to Town.
The event was created by students to thank the Lubbock community for its support of Red Raiders and is organized by the Texas Tech Student Government Association (SGA), the Tech Activities Board and the Office of the President.
"Whether it's attending sporting events, buying tickets to performances by musical and theater students or offering student discounts, Lubbock serves Texas Tech students well,” said Ben Sharp, SGA president. "Tech to Town is just one small opportunity to say thanks.”
Volunteers worked from 9 a.m. to noon at 10 locations around the city, including the Charles Adams Studio Project, the Lubbock Dream Center, Guadalupe-Parkway Sommerville Centers, Lubbock Refugee Services, Women's Protective Services and various parks and lakes.
"Tech to Town was a great success this weekend,” Sharp said. "We had more projects and more volunteers, and everything went off without a hitch.”
The day of service is more than just giving back to the community – it's a way to cultivate the relationship that exists between Red Raiders and local residents.
"More than being good neighbors and partners, I feel there is a sense of friendship between Texas Tech and Lubbock,” Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec said. "We can thank our students for promoting this kind of relationship. I was so impressed by the leadership of the SGA and the Tech Activities Board in putting together this large effort, and especially by so many students who turned out on a cold morning to selflessly volunteer for the benefit of our community.”
Sharp said it was an honor to have Schovanec and Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope speak and participate at the event.
"I really enjoyed seeing President Schovanec and his wife getting their hands dirty and serving alongside the students,” Sharp said. "It was great to see everyone coming together – faculty, staff and students – to serve the community.”
This year showed an increase in the number of volunteers, up from 500 who served during the first event last year. More than 700 people had signed up before Saturday, but Sharp said the inclement weather and competing events brought the actual number of volunteers down. Still, Sharp said those who volunteered made a lasting impact on those they served.
"We have had several organizations reach out to us and say how appreciative they are of the work our volunteers did,” Sharp said. "A couple have even asked if they can go ahead and be put on the list for next year's event.”
Though the event focused on Red Raiders giving back to the local community, Sharp said it wouldn't have been possible without continued support from that community and others on campus.
"Thank you so much to the Volunteer Center of Lubbock, the Office of the President, the Tech Activities Board, Edwards Body Works, Insomnia Cookies, Atmos Energy, WJG Law and Einstein Bros. Bagels for their support of the event,” Sharp said.
He said he hopes event continues to grow, as it's an important part of students' development outside of the classroom.
"Texas Tech is committed to educating students on how to be contributing members of society, and in my opinion, that means more than just a degree,” Sharp said. "A good citizenry serves its community, and I believe trying to develop that habit through events like Tech to Town is so important to seeing that become a reality.”