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1000plus gives opportunities for service

Students sign in at the University Center for 1000plus, an annual day of service that took place last Saturday. (credit: Courtesy of Kristen Chon) Students sign in at the University Center for 1000plus, an annual day of service that took place last Saturday. (credit: Courtesy of Kristen Chon) Students representing several student organizations loaded up lumber at Camp Guyasuta, a nearby Boy Scouts camp, as part of 1000plus.  (credit: Courtesy of Kristen Chon) Students representing several student organizations loaded up lumber at Camp Guyasuta, a nearby Boy Scouts camp, as part of 1000plus. (credit: Courtesy of Kristen Chon)

At 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, a crew of people wearing orange reflective vests could be seen sweeping Craig Street.

These workers had not been sentenced to community service, nor were they being paid for their labor — it was a group of Carnegie Mellon students taking part in 1000plus.

The Craig Street team was led by M. Shernell Smith, assistant director within the office of the dean of student affairs. “I’ve always thought it’s great for CMU to get out en masse,” said Smith. “People tend to get bogged down within the bubble.” Smith couldn’t talk long before a new volunteer arrived; she rushed over to give the volunteer a shovel.

This Saturday marked the seventh year of 1000plus, a massive organizational feat which, last year, engaged 1,053 volunteers with 32 charities, 20 buses, and 54 large groups. Although the count has not yet been finalized, this year appears to be even larger.

According to Vivian Chang, the president of the 1000plus executive board and a senior policy and management and psychology double major, the Greek organizations are particularly active in 1000plus. The biggest group this year was Sigma Alpha Epsilon, with 74 members participating in the event.

“1000plus is a great opportunity for people to volunteer; it’s low commitment so it fits easily into people’s busy schedules,” said Chang, who added that some students learn about charities through 1000plus and continue to volunteer with them for years to come.

This year, alumni in Massachusetts and North Carolina organized their own service projects to coincide with the 1000plus event at the Pittsburgh campus.

Some 50 alumni took part, a large number given that 1000plus began in 2008, so only recent alumni may be aware of the tradition.

This year also saw the introduction of some interesting new charities like Global Links, a group that sends medical surplus supplies which would be otherwise thrown away to poor countries. Volunteers helped sort and package medical supplies so they could be shipped off to countries in need.

Another new charity, Southside Slopes Neighborhood Association, had volunteers working in Monongahela Park, removing invasive species and picking up litter. “Its amazing how much people can give back in just one day,” said Smith.