Over 200 CSU East Bay students, staff and faculty members volunteered their time and services last Saturday at Harder Elementary School as a part of the university’s “week of service” for families in Hayward’s Jackson Triangle.”
“Harder is the main school we’re starting with because of its proximity and build, as a part of the Hayward Promise Neighborhood plan to help families in the Jackson Triangle,” said CSUEB President Leroy Morishita.
CSUEB’s facilities and grounds maintenance crews arrived at Harder Elementary School at 4 am with paint equipment, wheelbarrows, shovels, brooms and other (cleaning) equipment. By 8 am, 145 volunteers had checked-in for the morning shift, where a continental breakfast of drinks, fruits and yogurt fueled the volunteer’s appetites.
“The percentage of students that came were very interested in giving back,” said Martin Castillo, director of housing and dining at CSUEB. “I was surprised by the large amount of internationals that came through ALP.”
For the next four hours, students, faculty and staff from both CSUEB and Harder Elementary School were painting basketball and tetherball courts, re-lining hopscotch squares, dusting walls and hallways for cobwebs and planting fruits, flowers and herbs.
“We kind of migrate from job to job,” said a student of CSUEB Honor’s Program. “We’ve gone from shoveling dirt to handrail painting.”
Other volunteers who were working in the garden with the direction of CSUEB’s Associate Vice President, Academic Programs and Graduate Studies, Susan Opp, said that because of their shady location, gardening was a much easier task than painting.
“So far we have used five gallons of white paint, one and a half gallons of the yellow paint and two gallons of brown paint,” said custodial services supervisor Terry Leak. “Waste management provided the garbage cans and cut their delivery fee all together, so did CLARKS Rockery, who provided the gorilla hair.”
As student volunteers brought many bags of fertilizer for the baseball field, faculty members and staff from both CSUEB and Harder Elementary, were right along side them leading the efforts.
“I’m very satisfied with the turn-out. It’s fine to go far places for a good cause,” said Randy Saffold, executive director of Asociated Students, Inc., who traveled from Tracy to be a part of this community service event.
“I’m extremely satisfied,” he added.
Athletes and coaches from the woman’s basketball team, softball team and cross country also came to volunteer by not only painting, but also in hauling 30 cubic yards of gorilla hair onto the baseball field using a large blue tarp.
“I was excited as I got off the main road and got here. There are so many people, and usually that would be a problem as far as finding work to do, but everyone here is busy working,” said Morishita. “The second I got to the school, the first thing I was told from one of the volunteers was, ‘we’re out of paint.’”
By 11:30 a.m. the morning crew was finishing up their to do list and heading over to the lunch area for a bag lunch of turkey, ham, roast beef or vegetarian sandwiches along with chips, cookies and a piece of fruit.
Associate Vice Presedent for student affairs, Stan Hebert III, explained that the difference between the morning and afternoon groups is that there are less people in the afternoon group. The detail painting needs to be done and so does the interior cleaning.
“The hardest thing now is pulling in the mulch and cleaning the classroom,” said volunteer Fernando Miguel, a Junior at CSUEB.
Before lunch was served, Morishita spoke to all 210 volunteers and thanked them for all their hard work.
“You all rock,” said Morishita. “I believe a lot in community service.”
“The least you can do is try to exceed expectations. I believe that students should become involved now as a way of life,” added Morishita.
Following President Morishita came Mayor Michael Sweeney of Hayward, Hayward School Board President Jesus Armas, Hayward Unified School District’s Superintendent, Donald Evans, and Harder Elementary School’s Principal Hector Garcia.
“It takes a lot to build community. Democracy is not a spectator sport,” said Sweeney.
“It’s uplifting to see talk within a few years ago, to working closely to lift up the community and the school,” said Garcia.
“Put the Cal State East Bay flag on Harder Elementary School,” said Armas.
The morning crew squeezed in for their group photo, after lunch on Harder Elementary School’s grass.
The future of CSUEB and Harder Elementary School continues with Pioneer Height’s residents tutoring Harder Elementary School students. CSUEB’s Promise Neighborhood grant continues to help Hayward, its school district and six other partners in hopes of improving education and healthcare opportunities available for all of their families living in poverty.
Other “week of service” events include stocking inventory at a thrift store in Hayward, making goodie bags for students at Glassbrook and Stonebrae Elementary Schools, training for tutoring elementary level students, cleaning up the trash on CSUEB’s campus as well as participating in a canned food drive.
According to a statement from Provost, James L.J. Houpis, CSUEB has almost doubled the number of service hours provided by students to regional communities. Last year, the number of service hours increased from 90,000 hours to 178,200 hours and the provost hopes to double that number this year.
This entry was published in The Pioneer Online on Thursday, October 11th, 2012 at 2:22 pm.