Children with special needs, religious worshippers, homeless parents and nature lovers – those were just a handful of individuals that more than 600 students, faculty and staff assisted on Saturday for “Oiler Experience” orientation service projects.
Targeted toward new students as an annual kickoff to UF’s experiential learning focus, the effort included morning and afternoon shifts that spread out across Findlay and Hancock
County to help those in need. The opportunity afforded participants the chance to not only accomplish something for the greater good, but to meet new friends, become acquainted with faculty and staff, and become more familiar with off-campus areas of the community.
“This is introducing Riverside Park to students who may have never been here before,” said Tifani Boltz, Hancock Park District’s marketing manager who was organizing park activities,
which included picking up trash and painting over graffiti.
On Payne Avenue at the Oiler Build, UF Habitat for Humanity chapter’s first home construction, other students were busy hammering nails and hauling mulch to prepare the site for this weekend’s wall-raising ceremony.
Participants took part in 60 projects that varied widely. Along with those mentioned above, some services included helping to paint Blanchard Valley Center’s restroom maintenance garage, serving food at the Hancock Historical Museum’s Backstreet Festival, mulching the playground and cleaning the courtyard area at St. Michael the Archangel School and Parish, sprucing up kennels at the Humane Society & SPCA of Hancock County and visiting with residents at the Good Samaritan Society in Arlington.