Volunteers to “Be Present” this Tiger Serve Day

September 14, 2023

By Sam Bennett, Staff Writer

September 14, 2023

It’s that time of year when hundreds of Ouachita students gather to give back to the Arkadelphia community for Tiger Serve Day. A long-time tradition for OBU, the Ben M. Elrod Center for Family and Community sees to it that our student body does our fair share to serve the neighbors of our campus. An added bonus is the fun and excitement that it brings to us Tigers whenever that Saturday rolls around. 

Volunteers consist of students, faculty and staff who band together for several service projects provided by the local community. It’s a beloved event for our Ouachita family that semi-annually proves its importance to the city of Arkadelphia. It’s a great way for students to give back while building relationships with their classmates, making memories that will last a lifetime. “My favorite Tiger Serve Day memory is from freshman year when we were raking leaves for a lady down the street and in the process,” junior Abby Thurman said. “I got to meet a lot of new people who I eventually became very close with. It was a lot of fun getting to know them while serving our community. 

Echoing a similar story, junior Sammy Arizaga adds, “last year, we helped a lady clean her house and car. It wasn’t difficult work, but it was very special getting to see the smile it put on her face when we finished. It was extremely rewarding to see the immediate outcome of our hard work. It was a great experience to serve the locals alongside my [social club] brothers and grow closer with them in the process.” 

As we embark on another round of service, many students like to make note of the importance of Tiger Serve Day. “The best part about Tiger Serve Day is being able to interact with members of the community and serve their direct needs alongside your team members,” says Junior Wyatt House. 

Being a part of a unified team committed to making a difference is what brings the spirit up that day. Senior Meredith Medford thinks of the day of service as an opportunity to grow closer to her friends through the joy of good deeds. “I love the fact that Tiger Serve Day is a campus-wide service event. It’s so cool to serve alongside my peers but more so alongside my sisters. The women of Tri Chi always have multiple teams, and we always have a blast serving together.” 

A lot goes into the planning of Tiger Serve Day. Hundreds of volunteers must be organized into groups while the service projects themselves must be scheduled and assigned. Everyone involved must schedule a break from their usual weekend activities to make sure that they are available to give their all to the local community. Many are involved in handling these tasks, most of which make up the Tiger Serve Day Leadership Team. Team member Rachel Dunnam says, “being a part of the Tiger Serve Day Leadership Team has been more rewarding than I could have imagined. Through getting to know each person on the team, visiting the project sites, and spending time with the people involved, seeing what goes into Tiger Serve Day has been such a joy. Everyone has such unique gifts and talents that make working with this team so special.” 

This semester’s Tiger Serve Day is scheduled for Saturday, September 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The theme for this semester is “Be Present,” which Judy Duvall of the Elrod Center explains, “signifies the importance of being present with God, each other, and our community we will serve. In this age of distraction, being present is more important than ever!” 

For more information on Tiger Serve Day, visit www.obu.edu/serve or call the Elrod Center at (870) 245-5320.

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