More than 120 first-year students at St. Thomas University learned first-hand that service to the community is an important part of a well-rounded higher education. The “BOBCATS SERVE” COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT DAY on August 22, 2015 was a part of the university’s three-day new student orientation process titled “The St. Thomas Experience.” During the service day at Carol City Middle School (CCMS), upper-class student leaders led the first-year students, alongside CCMS staff, on a school-wide beautification effort.
Fully integrated as part of STU’s new student orientation program for the first time, the aim of the activity was to enhance the learning environment of the middle school, while making it an inviting place to spend time and support students in achieving success. At the same time, the Bobcat Serves Community Engagement Day helps new students develop bonding relationships both with each other, and with their new university identity. The day’s events are also part of the broader St. Thomas University/Carol City Middle School Community Educational Partnership. The partnership leverages multiple levels of university research, teaching, and volunteer resources to support CCMS student success.
After a welcome from St. Thomas University President Rev. Monsignor Franklyn M. Casale and Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver G. Gilbert III, volunteers worked with more than $3,000 worth of donated materials to create outdoor study spaces by building picnic tables, painting, mulching and planting 300 plants and trees.
“This fantastic work is indicative of the type of community engagement that is the hallmark of St. Thomas University,” said University President Rev. Msgr. Casale. “What a fantastic way to launch the new academic year, providing an opportunity for our students to help our community in such a meaningful way.