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March 13, 2013


CMU's Community Service Day Spreads Beyond Pittsburgh

By Heidi Opdyke

What once was a local volunteer effort is now a global one.

For this year's 1000plus, CMU's day of service on Saturday, April 6, volunteer opportunities are available for faculty, staff, students and alumni in Pittsburgh and around the world.

Senior Michael Carroll, chair of the 1000plus executive board, said the planning process is under way in Pittsburgh and chapters in Washington, D.C., Boston, Detroit, New York City, Baltimore, the Bay Area and even chapters in the Far East have expressed an interest.

"The organizations are already together and already do service," he said. "So rather than the 1000plus committee just saying, 'How can we help the Pittsburgh community?' we asked 'How can we help the global community and reach out to everyone?'"

Now in its sixth year, students continue to expand on their role in the program. Pittsburgh Cares was once the contact between the university and local organizations, but the students now have established relationships directly with the agencies.

"This is completely student driven, it's something that's very unique and a testament to the exceptional students that we have," said Liz Vaughan, director of Student Activities. "They have built up these relationships over time, and we've tried to get more strategic about working with community partners that work with us throughout the year on things such as the volunteer fair and Greek service day.

"The goal is to build longstanding and reciprocal partnerships with the nonprofits and we obviously welcome new organizations into the fold at any time, but we don't want to just show up for one day and them not hear from us for more than a year. We'd like to actually be consistently sending Carnegie Mellon volunteers to their agency," Vaughan added.

Carroll, a business administration and statistics major, said the group's goal is to make volunteering as easy as possible for people who want to participate.

"So many people at this school are so blessed and have so many skills, but maybe not the time," the Cleveland native said. "We're trying to give them the opportunity without having to do the planning process, so all they have to do is show up and give four hours of service. And they might realize that, 'hey, I can do this every week and give back to the community.'"

In Pittsburgh, there will be two shifts for volunteers to sign up for. The morning shift starts at 9 a.m., and the afternoon shift starts at 1 p.m. Each begins in Rangos Ballroom with a kickoff event, and transportation to and from the worksites will be provided.

Adam Rauf, past chair of Staff Council who works at the Software Engineering Institute, has volunteered with 1000plus in the past.

"As staff, we're often so busy thinking about our responsibilities at work and who we support that we should stop and reflect on our community as well," Rauf said. "1000plus gives us the opportunity to do that, and for those of us in non-academic departments, it allows us to interact with students and faculty that we might not meet normally. You not only get to do something good for the community, but you get to make new friends and connections in the process and work together with a team of people who has a passion to do good just like you."

Volunteers will have more than 40 sites from which to choose. Descriptions of the work and the registration form are available online at Additionally, a promotional video can be seen at

While large student organizations supply the most volunteers, Vaughan said that they would love to see faculty and staff members who have participated before to bring another staff or faculty member with them this year.

"The faculty and staff who have come in the past have come at the request of one of their students, or someone who they have worked closely with, but then they go and see that it's a great experience, and I know a lot of them have gotten hooked," she said. "It's also a great opportunity for offices who don't get to work as directly with students to be able to understand student culture right now and see the great things our students are doing."

The event has been so well accepted that nonprofits called asking to be added this year.

"One thing about the board that I really love, is that every time we reach a plateau or a status quo, then we push it further," Carroll said.

CMU Recognized for Community Service

For the sixth consecutive year, Carnegie Mellon has been named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The selection by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the U.S. Department of Education recognizes CMU's commitment to community service and service learning.

Judith Hallinen, assistant vice provost for Educational Outreach and director of the Leonard Gelfand Center for Service Learning and Outreach, said students spent more than 202,000 hours engaged in service and educational outreach in 2011-2012.