Howard Payne University students serve Brownwood community
BROWNWOOD – August 31, 2011 – Members of Howard Payne University’s entering freshman class, along with many upperclassmen and staff members, spent their last Saturday before classes began serving the town they now call home. Approximately 150 students participated in the university’s annual Serving With A Right Motive (S.W.A.R.M.) project on Aug. 20.
“S.W.A.R.M. this year was definitely a highlight of our Jacket Journey new-student orientation program,” said Tyler Sellers, director of student activities at HPU. “It is always refreshing to see both new and returning students commit their time and effort to serving the Brownwood community.”
The S.W.A.R.M. volunteers gathered at the university early that morning before dispersing to four locations around town – the Corinne T. Smith Animal Center, Lake Brownwood, the Brownwood Area Community Garden and a historic home being renovated for use by the Heart of Texas Christian Women’s Job Corps.
Approximately 80 students joined efforts with the Brown County Water Improvement District, Brown County Sheriff’s Office, Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce, Early Chamber of Commerce, Lake Brownwood Community Development Council and Keep Brownwood Beautiful to dredge debris from the bottom of Lake Brownwood.
“The group removed five tons of garbage from the lake that day,” said Ray Tipton, Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce marketing manager. According to Tipton, more than 30 tires were removed during the clean-up. “We can recycle most of the tires, scrap metal and batteries that we found.”
An additional 18 students and staff provided service to the Corinne T. Smith Animal Center in storage cleanup, organization and landscaping.
“Every year we have students here involved in the S.W.A.R.M. event,” said Freda Day, animal shelter administrative manager. “This year we really put them to work. Even though the temperature was 107 degrees, these students did a full day's work in only two hours. These things have needed to be done for months, but we needed young muscle to do them.”
Fifteen students and staff served the Brownwood Area Community Garden by cleaning the storage building and office, preparing and filling mulch piles and weeding.
“As a non-profit organization, the Community Garden has limited funds and staff and relies heavily on volunteers for year-round maintenance,” said Daniel Graham, garden coordinator. “Large groups, like S.W.A.R.M., really help us get a lot done in a short time and are essential to the garden's ongoing success. We really appreciate the help.”
Thirty-five HPU students served the Christian Women’s Job Corps by aiding in renovations to a two-story, historic home on Center Avenue. The second floor will house the organization as they teach life skills and job skills to women in need so they can gain more education or a better job. The main floor will be used as a venue for weddings, showers and parties.
“The students got us off to a good start,” said Bettie Evans, director of the organization. “Several of the students were asking if they could come back and help some more, so we are looking forward to working with them in the future.”