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Service Coalition seeks more student involvement

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UNO’s Service Coalition organizes various service and volunteering opportunities for students. To help raise money for Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO), they volunteered in the dog parade “Barkus” on Jan. 4.

UNO’s Service Coalition organizes various service and volunteering opportunities for students. To help raise money for Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO), they volunteered in the dog parade “Barkus” on Jan. 4.

UNO’s Service Coalition organizes various service and volunteering opportunities for students. To help raise money for Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO), they volunteered in the dog parade “Barkus” on Jan. 4.

UNO’s Service Coalition is in need of more student volunteers. Throughout the years, they have coordinated service days for students, along with various charity drives. They are also in charge of recycling on campus and depend on students to maintain the process.

“Recycling is the biggest thing that we need help with, because we are always looking for people to maintain the bins,” said Kirstie Jiles, a graduate student worker for community service initiatives under Student Involvement and Leadership (SIL). “Right now, it’s just been a hodgepodge. The recycling program started a few years back, and it was just a couple of people with service coalition taking care of the bins, and then whoever else wanted to come to the meetings and help.”

Students who help with recycling aren’t required to attend all the meetings. There are trash bags available outside the Service Coalition’s office. Interested students can maintain however many bins they want to.

Aside from helping take the trash out, students are also encouraged to participate in putting the trash in the appropriate container. “Most students on campus don’t recognize that we have recycling, so they throw trash in it and the bin gets destroyed or too gross,” said Jiles.

“Not all of them look like recycling bins. So now we’re trying to get colorful bins with the big recycling symbol on them with a lid that you can only throw recyclable things in so that people will become more aware,” she continued, adding that the Service Coalition just finished writing an SGA bill about the matter.

Jiles’ goal is to get everyone on campus to understand that UNO does recycle, and that bins are available. Most important is “to have bins accessible and students that are available to take care of the bins,” she said.

Recycling benefits more than just the campus. For Jiles, it is necessary for the greater good of the planet. “The more petroleum products and plastics that we keep out of landfills, the better,” she said.

Jiles also asserted that the general public doesn’t understand how important recycling is. “Eventually we’re going to use up our resources if we’re not careful and if we don’t become educated about how to use them.”

Aside from recycling, the Service Coalition is involved with many other service and charity projects. Upcoming events include the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana on Feb. 24, a City park cleanup on March 3, and a volunteer day with Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO) on Mar. 24.  A Habitat for Humanity event is in the works for April 14, and a Mardi Gras bead drive is ongoing until Feb. 16.

“We’re actually providing a service,” Jiles said. “It really is important to the organizations that we work for that they have volunteers who are dedicated and want to come back.”

While community service may not be a requirement for every student in college, Jiles believes students should volunteer anyway. Volunteering, she says, can help a student understand what it means to be involved in civic engagement. According to Jiles, most people don’t understand what their community needs or the work that goes into it.

“The more manpower you have, or womanpower, the faster those needs are met and the more efficiently these organizations can run,” said Jiles.

Having an on-campus organization like the Service Coalition means that students don’t have to leave campus to volunteer in projects. For example, the Service Coalition hosts an annual Campus Beautification Day, when students pick up trash around campus or clean up a specific building. It was traditionally held during Spring Break, but after a low turnout, it has been moved to take place on Earth Day, April 22.

The Service Coalition is also looking into the possibility of doing a mural on campus in honor of Campus Beautification Day. Students and artists who are able and willing to participate in painting it can contact [email protected]. The Service Coalition also has a Facebook page at facebook.com/UNOServiceCo.

Their next meeting is on Feb. 8 at 12:30 p.m. in UC 201C. Meetings happen every other Thursday at the same time.

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Service Coalition seeks more student involvement