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Day of Service

All I wanted for Christmas was tickets to the LSU vs. Ohio State BCS Football Championship game, but Santa’s pocket book was not willing to fork over the hefty price that these tickets are going for. Needless to say I didn’t get them.

So, I started looking for other opportunities to participate in the excitement down in New Orleans surrounding the game. As a staff member at LSU, I learned about a community service project that LSU and OSU sponsored at the NFL Boys & Girls Club of Greater New Orleans. The club serves the neighborhood surrounding the B.W. Cooper public housing community.

Wanting to be close to the excitement, I decided to partake in the project the Sunday before the big game. The tasks of the day were to construct two baseball diamonds in Rosenwald Park, paint the exterior of a storage building, weed and landscape the areas surrounding the building, assemble aluminum bleachers and construct fleece blankets for the homeless.

This photo essay chronicles the morning’s activities.

8 a.m.

Volunteer LSU, a student-based service organization, is ready to receive volunteers arriving at the community service project site located at 1140 S. Broad Street in New Orleans.

8:30 a.m.

Fans attired in purple and gold and scarlet and gray flood the park. Students, staff, faculty, alumni and supporters of both schools arrive on five charter buses from downtown New Orleans and the surrounding areas.

9 a.m.

Rich Hollingsworth, OSU vice president of student affairs, kicked off the morning’s events by welcoming the group and motivating the crowd. With temperatures in the low seventies, it was the perfect weather for a day of service.

9:13 a.m.

LSU Chancellor Sean O’Keefe greeted nearly 500 volunteers with a warm Louisiana welcome. “Through this project today we are all New Orleanians,” he said.

9:15 a.m.

Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu told the crowd that 5,000 volunteers have come to Louisiana in the last two years to assist the state in its recovery efforts since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. He applauded both universities for their efforts to give back to a playground that has served hundreds of New Orleans children for decades.

9:30 a.m.

It was time for the two teams to get to work, including Mike the Tiger and Brutus the Buckeye.

LSU students Colorado Robinson and Shannon Bates were some of the first to grab rakes and shovels.

9:40 a.m.

With upbeat music playing in the background, volunteers worked in cooperation to remove sod that would soon become the baseline of the two baseball diamonds.

9:45 a.m. -10:15 a.m.

LSU cheerleaders Jessica Spitale, Monica Polemeni and Katie Prechter work in unison with C.J. Wiley, a 3rd-year OSU medical school student, to scrape old paint from railings surrounding a building on the park’s grounds.

Participants give an on-site storage facility a quick face lift with a fresh coat of paint.

LSU graduate student Craig Schreiber supervises and constructs sideline bleachers in anticipation of a crowd of future fans.

Inside the NFL Boys & Girls Club building, fleece blankets were constructed using a method of tying tabbed ends together.

LSU and OSU volunteers assembled 150 multi-colored blankets to distribute to the homeless in New Orleans.

Who says LSU and OSU fans can’t get along? Visitors to the NFL Boys & Girls Club will be greeted by a newly landscaped flower bed.

To pack the dirt on the pitcher’s mound, volunteers “stomped” to the music of Van Halen’s “Jump” and the Beatle’s “Twist and Shout.”

Volunteer LSU student coordinator Claire Reuter speaks with the media about the significance of the community project and the partnership between the two schools.

10:20 a.m.

The diamonds are near complete!

10:45 a.m.

Project accomplished! The home plate is laid and baselines are sprayed. Batter Up!

11:15 a.m.

Mike the Tiger throws a ceremonial pitch to celebrate the community project’s completion.

11:25 a.m.

Competing on the Field; Collaborating in Service; Rebuilding a Community of Champions

11:35 a.m.

Thanks to the generosity of Campus Federal Credit Union, all volunteers were treated to a south Louisiana favorite, jambalaya!

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