Radford students give back on first Spring Day of Service

One of the largest groups of students lent a hand at a local Boy Scout camp on Claytor Lake.

Radford University students braved a mid-spring snow shower to do their part in the community on April 8.

The Highlanders Give Back – Spring Day of Service is a new initiative this semester and part of the university’s commitment to creating new service opportunities.

Nearly 200 students signed up to lend a hand in the community. They were deployed around Radford and surrounding areas to plant trees, collect trash, clean up local Boy Scout camps and provide a variety of other helpful services.

Radford University Dean of Students Irvin Clark said service is a crucial component in student development.

"There’s a lot more to learning than four walls of a classroom," Clark said. "I don't think there's anything more important for a college student to do than to give of themselves. They learn that they can make a difference for others, for themselves and the community."

When Vince Luddin of Sigma Chi fraternity showed up to register the morning of the event, he did not know where he would be assigned in the community. That didn’t matter, however, as he was excited to help out in anyway possible, not only as a representative of a fraternity, but of the university community as a whole.

“Helping out the community is definitely one of the most important things students can do,” said Luddin, a junior finance major from Chantilly. “We’re a part of this community. We need to look out for it.”

One of the largest groups of student volunteers was sent to the Claytor Lake Aquatics Base, operated by the Boy Scouts of America Clue Ridge Mountains Council. In preparation for the upcoming summer camp season, Radford students helped beautify the camp, landscape around the main buildings and create a safety area beneath the camp's climbing wall.

Despite some tough work and snowy conditions, students worked cheerfully and managed to complete the tasks set forth.

Cameron Thomas, camp ranger, supervised the students and talked with several of them about his own service experiences when he was a scout, saying that they humbled and connected him to the community. In his estimation, the Spring Day of Service was a success.

"I will invite as many Radford students as possible back," Thomas said. "They have been awesome."

Apr 14, 2016