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1000plus day encourages student service

1000plus teamed up with Pittsburgh Cares, a local service organization, to offer students volunteer activities for the day. (credit: Devin Beahm/Photo Staff) 1000plus teamed up with Pittsburgh Cares, a local service organization, to offer students volunteer activities for the day. (credit: Devin Beahm/Photo Staff) The 1000plus day of service offered philanthropic activities, including cleaning up trash around Pittsburgh’s parks. (credit: Devin Beahm/Photo Staff) The 1000plus day of service offered philanthropic activities, including cleaning up trash around Pittsburgh’s parks. (credit: Devin Beahm/Photo Staff)

1000plus, an annual Carnegie Mellon day of community service, brought together over 1000 students to spend last Saturday engaged in service activities across Pittsburgh. 1000 Plus is in its third year of operation and for the past two has partnered with Pittsburgh Cares, a local nonprofit aimed at increasing community volunteerism.
Throughout the day, groups of students were shuttled to locations across the city where they participated in a variety of service activities, including adult education and literacy, disaster relief, homelessness and hunger eradication, and environmental protection and preservation. Students unable to dedicate the necessary four hours for the off-campus on-site projects were able to assist with in-house projects. These included making senior Jeopardy games and literacy bingo for schools.
Jonathan Kroll, the former coordinator of Student Development, began the service day in the spring of 2008. 1000plus is currently run by a student board and has been sponsored by the coordinator of Student Development, Lucas Christian, for the past two years.

While the event’s title stems from the aim of organizing over 1000 volunteers, just under 600 students registered in 2008. This year is the first to boast a registration over 1000.

Christian accredited this to the student-organized branding effort in 2009, which included the current website and the now-familiar silhouettes positioned across campus. The same year, they chose to partner with Pittsburgh Cares.

Pittsburgh Cares coordinated the on-site and in-house projects, drawing on a network of over 350 regional nonprofits. They offer year-round opportunities for students and community members to become involved in one-time or ongoing volunteering projects.

Alexa New, the Pittsburgh Cares program manager for Business Cares and Campus Cares, has worked with 1000plus for the entirety of the partnership. She also works with other Carnegie Mellon service organizations throughout the year. “CMU students are really unique. They are the best student leaders. They get their peers involved and really take ownership of the projects.”

Thom Dawkins, a Pittsburgh Cares volunteer, agreed with New’s assessment. “I’ve never seen a university where students are so proactive.”

Cindy Wang, a sophomore business administration major and member of the student board, also discussed the unique aspects of 1000plus among service events. “It reaches across campus and involves everyone at CMU: students, alumni, staff, as well as members of the Pittsburgh community.”
Christian articulated a desire for an even greater scope. “The hope is that 1000plus can be more than just one day of service, that it can be a group of students organizing service all year round.” To this end, 1000plus created posters staked across the Cut for MLK Day, a national day of service, with statistics about the amount of service completed by students.

1000plus also partnered with student organizations across campus, and Christian cited the Greek organizations as being especially involved. Kate Smith, a junior social and decision science major and 1000plus student board member, is a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and credits the service hours required by Greek life as a reason for pledging.

This year alone, Carnegie Mellon students, faculty, and staff volunteered around 117,500 hours. During 1000plus, over 4000 hours were volunteered, representing an contribution to Pittsburgh of about $80,000 worth of work hours.

Christian summed up this effort, explaining that “the culture of service is already here on campus.... I think it is really cool that even with a very academically rigorous curriculum, students still find time for what they’re passionate about, and one of those things is service. We want to help foster that.”