Day 5: A Tradition of Service

By on December 27, 2013

Students 2 Today is Day 5 in the Countdown to UTEP’s Centennial year.

We continue The Top 10 Traditions that Form the Foundation of Miner Pride and Success.

5. A Tradition of Service

More than 50 years ago, U.S. president John F. Kennedy announced his vision that all American young people should serve their country and the world through a program he called the Peace Corps. The first class of Peace Corps volunteers—surveyors, civil engineers, and geologists—trained on campus before traveling to present-day Tanzania where they plunged “into the jungle to plan the needed roads” for the country’s “isolated native villages.” One Washington official observed that the school’s “participation in the Peace Corps had a historic significance” for both “training volunteers for Tanganyika” and “establish[ing] policies which now guide . . . training projects throughout the country.”

Today the tradition of service permeates student life in and out of the classroom. Each year, more than 160 courses send students into the community for roughly half a million hours of service learning in which students and faculty mentor children, assist immigrants, encourage reading, develop leaders, help file taxes, judge science fairs and history competitions, share music with nursing home residents, and promote good nutrition and healthy living. Every year student organizations collaborate on an annual day of service called Project Move helping community organizations with cleaning, maintenance, beautification and other service projects. And the Miner Volunteer Corps stands ready and on call to assist local non-profits in serving the community.

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Keith A. Erekson served as the Executive Director of UTEP's Centennial Celebration from December 2011 through May 2014. Learn more at keitherekson.com.