Alumni and visitors may be coming back to SMU for Homecoming, but 100 students will be leaving campus Friday morning to participate in Stampede of Service, a more than 40-year-old campus tradition.
This year, however, SMU has incorporated this “flagship day of service” into the Centennial Homecoming celebration, as described by Rashad Givhan, assistant director in the Community Engagement and Leadership Center.
Unlike in years past when both faculty and alumni attended this event, only students will be serving at 10 different service sites throughout the Dallas area. Each site will consist of a group of 10 students, making the total amount of service ambassadors adding up to 100 for the centennial. Since a limit was defined on the amount of attendees, students had to apply to be selected as an ambassador.
Students were then assigned a site based on preferences that they selected. SMU has previously worked with the majority of the organizations that students will be traveling to. Two sites, however, have been added in order to meet the needs of the community.
This year, students have the opportunity to help Brighter Bites and Our Community Pantry, two centers that focus on providing food to underprivileged families. These programs hope to teach healthy eating and better nutrition habits to locals on a tight budget in order to diminish fast food consumption, which can be dangerous to one’s health when eaten frequently.
“We choose sites that are align with our mission and community identified needs,” said Givhan. “It’s a delicate balance between need and availability.”
Students will also travel to places like Readers 2 Leaders, Uplift schools, SPARK and several others. Busses will take all participants to the sites.
“Through Stampede of Service, I hope students understand what their role is to bring social change,” said Givhan. “It’s to choose to lead.”