My 09/11 weekend of service!
I’ve been at Vanderbilt for about a month now, and things are going from good to great to incredibly awesome! I’ve been enjoying my time juggling two majors and a social life, and after a month at Vandy, it was time to give back to the community!
In the memory of all the people we lost in 9/11, the weekend after the anniversary was our weekend of service. Almost all the organizations on campus arranged for special events to serve the community and help make a difference.
I, on the other hand, had my email clogged with announcements from student orgs, mainly because I signed up for every organization on campus! This was a good thing, though, because I got to choose what interests me the most (and can actually do! i.e not fencing, although that would be a bad idea for a weekend of service!).
In the spirit of service, on Friday 09/13 I joined Vanderbilt Student Volunteers for Science ! VSVS is one of the best (and most popular!) service programs on campus. The organization prepares science lab boxes that are sent to schools. Student volunteers also help the teachers in presenting the experiments to classes! It’s a wonderfully rewarding experience, and I wanted to take part in it! That day, though, VSVS was paying a visit to a nearby middle school! We literally took over the cafeteria and set up a total of 10 tables, each one with a different activity that the kids can learn from and have fun. To be honest, most of the experiments are fun for the volunteers too!
Ironically, I got the physics experiment. If you don’t know already, you should: I’m not a big fan of physics. There’s something about trajectories and forces that ticks me off, and guess what experiment I got to introduce? Yes, the infamous Straw Rocket experiment (rockets made of straws :p). The confusion continues when I’m paired with a Teaching Assistant in the Chemistry department! (I know. Chemistry TA for a physics experiment?!). I reached into my head for physics trivia and powered through twenty groups, 10 children each! All we needed to do was make it into a competition: who can get their rocket to fly the most!
At first I thought this idea would “crash” big time, but after the first group, the kids started making teams, cheering (and sometime booing) each other and counting down for rocket launching! I ended up bonding with Katie, the TA, and she turned out to be very cool! More importantly, the kids seemed to enjoy it ! They actually got the hang of the whole trajectory vs angle thing (you can tell I don’t know what I’m talking about haha) and became creative!
After about three hours of straws flying around, kids cheering, and me wearing my voice out! We were done!!
Saturday was also part of my weekend of service! This time though, it was more of an outdoor activity. Members of Memorial House, along with our Residential Advisers, Faculty Head of House went down to Shelby Bottoms. This is a wonderful park just outside of Nashville! There is a wonderful piece of land there where kids can explore nature in a controlled environment (meaning they can sit in the mud without hurting themselves, an activity we all love). The park basically gives the kids and parents a break of video games and helps kids explore their surroundings! The problem is that the park wasn’t getting the care it should be getting. Hence, Memorial House to the rescue! We spent Saturday morning there mowing lawns, digging mud pits (and trying not to jump into them!) taking out weeds, etc. It was tough but the weather was amazing and, you know what, we needed some time with mother nature! to be completely honest, my muscles were pretty sore, but anyway… It was a great way to bond with all the guys in my house! So I’m happy!
The great thing here is that there are so many different organizations on campus. You can do anything as groups, and individuals; from dancing Tango to cleaning public parks! It’s hard to hear about 9/11 weekend of service and not take part in it. Everyone showed so much enthusiasm and it was a great way to celebrate my first month at Vandy and commemorate the tragedy of 9/11,