RedHawk Day of Service Builds Unity

Nyah and Jules stand in front of a large crowd, speaking in the Armstrong Pavilion.Nyah Smith and Jules Jefferson speak to participants.More than 100 students and staff members came together on September 30, 2023 for the inaugural RedHawk Day of Service at Miami University.

The RedHawk Day of Service emerged from the campaign promises of student body president Nyah Smith and vice president Jules Jefferson. Their #BuildingtheTable slogan, with a focus on unity, aimed to create a campus where every student feels empowered and prepared to take a seat at the proverbial table. After discussing goals with Director of Student Engagement, Activities, and Leadership Kim Vance, the idea of a day of service took shape. The primary goal was to bridge the gap between Miami and the Oxford community, fostering relationships and gratitude among all participants.

The event began with a presentation and information fair in the Armstrong Pavilion, where service sites shared volunteer opportunities. Participants were then dispatched to 15 service projects across the community.

Projects spanned a variety of causes and locations. Some participants helped organize, paint, and clean local non-profit organization offices. The Butler County United Way’s building had flooded earlier this year; they needed help cleaning up the basement and getting the office back to normalcy. The Interfaith Center and Oxford Citizens for Peace and Justice also needed help with office maintenance.

Some volunteers headed to Miami’s natural areas to help remove invasive honeysuckle along the OATS trail. A second project with the natural areas foused on completing an intensive drainage project.

Participants also served at the Animal Friends Humane society and Animal Adoption Foundation, cleaning kennels at both and preparing animal enrichment items.

Two students hold up bags of trash uptownStudents pick up trash Uptown. Additional projects included cleaning up trash in alleys in the Mile Square with the Oxford Police Department, cleaning up and preparing for horse shows at the Equestrian Center, and sorting clothes and other textiles into usable categories with Thread Up Oxford.

The impact of the RedHawk Day of Service was palpable, evidenced by positive feedback from community members.

"To see all our hard work and dedication come alive was amazing," said Smith. "But more importantly, it was incredible to see the outpouring of enthusiasm and support from the students and faculty in wanting to make a difference in the Butler County community."

Looking ahead, Smith and Jefferson envision a continued commitment to service at Miami. They plan to establish a committee for the RedHawk Day of Service to ensure the enduring success and impact of this day of unity and community building.