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University of Missouri

Inspired by Student Volunteers

Alumni serve their communities.

people sorting donated items

Kathy Schmelder, BA ‘83, Cindy Rector, MD ’92, Jim Simmons, BS ’93, MD ‘98, Bill Schmelder, MBA ‘81, and Chris LeGrand, BS BA ‘93, sort, organize and shelve donated items at the Timberlake Outreach Center in Omaha as part of the Mizzou Alumni Association’s first Mizzou Day of Service. The center is part of Open Door Mission, which provides assistance to Nebraskans affected by poverty and homelessness. Photo by Matt Dixon.

On April 30, Mizzou Alumni Association chapter members nationwide set aside a few hours to perform volunteer work in MU’s name. Mizzou Day of Service, which organizers hope will become an annual undertaking, was inspired by the Mizzou Alternative Breaks program, through which students have been serving communities throughout the United States since 1991.

For the inaugural alumni event, chapters chose their own ways to serve locally, says Molly Richardson, BA BA ’09, the association’s assistant director of alumni engagement.

When the Rocky Mountain Tigers polled members on their volunteer interests, environmentalism won the day, says Camille Cragin, BFA ’14. So, the board planned to join in a springtime cleanup in Fishback Park along the South Platte River in Denver, not far from the Pepsi Center, home of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche. The April 30 event was canceled because of snow. But the chapter was undaunted and rescheduled for the following week.

Meanwhile, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, alumni pitched in on construction of a Habitat for Humanity house. “We were there to put up insulation, work on the roof, install landscaping — just make ourselves available for what they needed us to do,” says Scott Phillips, BS BA ’06, chapter president. The chapter, in addition to raising money for scholarships and helping local alumni connect, “is here to put the MU brand out there and be a positive presence in the community,” Phillips says. “We’re really excited to participate in their first Day of Service. It’s a good thing to tie chapters together on a single theme.”

According to Richardson, about 100 alumni volunteers from 15 chapters participated in the first Mizzou Day of Service.