- UHCL student volunteers and staff pictured with the completed 'Little Library Project.'
- UHCL student volunteers working on 'The Garden Project.'
- UHCL student volunteers pictured outside of Hunter Hall after completing 'The Garden Project.'
- UHCL student volunteers and University Police at the UHCL Cares Day carwash.
- UHCL student volunteers at the 'Habitat Restoration Project.'
- UHCL student volunteers working together for nature restoration.
UHCL Cares Day: Students get involved, build campus community
Each year, University of Houston- Clear Lake hosts UHCL Cares Day to promote campus-wide service projects for collaboration and student engagement. This year, the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership contributed to the initiative by hosting ‘The Little Library Project,’ ‘The Garden Project,’ and a car wash for UH-Clear Lake’s University Police. All three projects were created to foster campus relationships through service, and to establish memorable experiences. Assistant Director of Student Involvement and Leadership Dillon Nash said student involvement enhances and elevates the college experience.
“Teams from the Neumann Library and Writing Center came together for this brilliant idea. A ‘Little Library’ is a free community-based book exchange. The idea is for our UHCL community members to utilize this to take a book and share a book,” he said. "This encourages reading and fosters a sense of community.”
Site Coordinator Priscilla Perez is a senior graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology this fall. She said ‘The Little Library Project’ was important to her because she’s aspired to do this project since she was a kid.
“I tried to implement one in my neighborhood when I was younger because we did not have access to a library where I grew up,” Perez said. “I originally wanted to implement the project last year when I was president of Hawks 4 Community, but got discouraged because I did not know how to facilitate it.”
Despite challenges, Perez persevered and got the help she needed from departments on campus and peers to successfully carryout the project, cultivating many relationships throughout the process.
“I am very pleased with how the project turned out. I think it was really successful in getting students excited to volunteer and making them feel empowered,” she said. “The exchange box spreads literacy not only among our students, but also the entire community. After finishing the project, I felt emotional because of how dedicated I was to push it forward,” she added. “I really love the idea of having a space on campus where students can trade books, support literacy and build community all at the same.”
‘The Little Library’ is now available for free use at UHCL’s Potter Pond. Perez said getting involved on campus gives students a voice and strengthens necessary skills, such as time management, leadership, communication and networking, and other skills that are applicable to their fields of study.
Although ‘The Little Library Project’ was the focal point for unification during UHCL Cares Day, the Hawks 4 Community and Green Thumb League student organizations also organized a garden project at Hunter Hall.
“They brought new life to a flower bed that needed some attention,” Nash said. “It was great to see two registered student organizations working together to help beautify our campus.”
In addition to the other UHCL Cares Day activities, students showed their appreciation for University Police by washing their patrol cars, collaborating with the Environmental Justice Association for the ‘Habitat Restoration Project’ at the UHCL walking trail, and also hosting a campus clean-up project.
Nash said that UHCL Cares Day is all about giving back to campus through service and encourages students to get involved in future events.
“Volunteering at our service events is easy. We want students to feel like they belong and have a safe space with our team,” he said. “Be on the lookout for emails requesting volunteers and always connect with us on UHCL Get Involved."
The next large day of service is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Jan. 19, 2024. Registration for this event is coming soon.
For more information about volunteer opportunities and how to get involved on campus, visit uhcl.campuslabs.com/engage/news/271582.