Doing what Buckeyes do best
April is for showers and paying forward through Month of Service activities.
Buckeye spirit is loud and clear all year round, but Ohio State’s Month of Service in April is a special celebration of that most essential of Buckeye Nation’s tenets: giving back.
In the spirit of Woody’s belief in a responsibility to pay forward — and National Volunteer Month — individual alumni and clubs nationwide host volunteer opportunities that allow Buckeyes to join forces across the country to help others.
Month of Service projects aren’t limited to alumni, either. Families, friends and neighbors with the Buckeye spirit of giving are welcome, too. Even friendly Big Ten rivals.
For its Month of Service project, the Alumni Club of Minnesota will continue what has become a tradition with other Big Ten alumni clubs in town: volunteering at Second Harvest Heartland, an organization dedicated to fighting hunger.
“It’s fun because we get spirited rivalry and great networking along with our club’s service project,” says President Janelle Jordan, who serves on the alumni association’s board of directors. “It’s a wonderful activity through which we can make a big impact.
“There’s something special about giving our time together that bonds our club,” she says. “We break out of our usual activities and get to know each other in different ways.”
In northern Ohio, the Alumni Club of Erie County’s April service project is a longstanding tradition entwined with the history of the country, the community and the club itself: beautifying Facer Park.
In 2007, local artist Susan Schultz ’69 was commissioned to create a sculpture that serves as the lakefront park’s centerpiece and commemorates Sandusky’s role in the Underground Railroad. Many local Buckeyes contributed to the work with their time and talent. The sculpture is oriented toward Canada, where many slaves fled, and consists of 800 feet of heavy chain and bronze. It depicts a man, woman and baby breaking free.
At a time when Sandusky was struggling financially to maintain its parks, the alumni club — then led by Schultz’s sister, Neill Ann Hancock — offered its help to transform what was then a relatively underdeveloped and underused park overlooking Sandusky Bay into a beautifully landscaped tourist destination.
“We take a special pride in this project, from the creation of the sculpture to nurturing and maintaining the beautiful grounds surrounding it year-round,” Hancock says. “Although the park is named Facer Park, in our hearts it is Buckeye Park.”
The Las Vegas Alumni Club’s upcoming Month of Service project with Serving Hope LV, an informal group that helps homeless people, has all the makings of a club tradition.
“Serving Hope LV gets together once a week, and anyone can come and bring things to help the homeless, whether it’s food, clothing, books,” says club President Chris Burk.
Burk began volunteering for Serving Hope LV after meeting its founder, Siloh Moses, who was homeless until three years ago. Now, Moses dedicates himself to helping others.
The club did its first project with Moses’ group in June, and in the fall hosted an event when the Ohio State men’s basketball team was in town.
“Any Ohio State fan in southern Nevada could come join forces and do something positive for the community, and it was a resounding success,” Burk says. “We brought tons of food, tons of supplies. Siloh was overwhelmed and was so impressed with the outreach and impact Ohio State can have, even 2,000 miles away.”
Burk believes a desire to pay forward is consistent across Buckeye Nation. “Buckeyes tend to naturally be giving,” he says. “I’ve found people raring to go.”