By WAQAS NAEEM
A handful of organizations in East Campus, a predominantly residential neighborhood, are setting the tone for community participation.
Ranging from simple — lawn mowing — to time consuming — fundraising for charity — these activities are promoting civic engagement and social welfare.
Alex Szabo, public information chair of Sigma Chi, said his fraternity cleaned Rosemary Lane last fall as part of the Adopt-A-Spot project and plan to do it this year as well. The Adopt-A-Spot is a beautification program initiated by the City of Columbia.
Members of the Christian Campus House, located on 704 S. College Ave., also help keep the neighborhood clean by removing trash from the streets and raking leaves.
Christian Campus House Director Lance Temerius said the importance of helping others is also emphasized in religious teachings.
“That’s what Jesus has asked us to do,” Temerius said. “To help all people.”
Members of the organization volunteer every week to help the elderly and widows in the neighborhood with their household chores, Temerius said. Members also volunteer at a hospital and nursing house on a weekly basis, he said.
Organizations can also offer financial aid to the community. David Benson, senior pastor at the Campus Lutheran Church, said church members contribute to a “benevolence fund.” He said the church provides need-based financial assistance to neighborhood residents, as well as people from other parts of town.
Fund-raising for important social causes can sometimes bring the community together. Several fraternity houses that line the western edge of the neighborhood organize philanthropy events every year. At one event last year, the Sigma Chi helped raise $5,000 for the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
The organizations try to involve the younger generation as well. Lee Elementary School promotes activities to encourage children to help others. Teacher Linda Poehlmann said second-grade students collected food materials from the neighborhood from Oct. 14 through Oct. 21 and donated them to the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri.