Audio by Elena Lara
Bobcat Build worries volunteer numbers may decrease
By Monique Flores
SAN MARCOS, Texas — In the early morning of April 7, Bobcat Build volunteers and coordinators gathered at the Bobcat stadium for yet another year of Texas’ second largest one day community service event.
Bobcat Build, inspired by Texas A&M’s “The Big Event” volunteer program, launched its first event in 2003 and has since been the anticipated volunteer event of the year. The organization’s goal is to bridge the gap between the Texas State and San Marcos community by sending volunteers to various jobsites around Hays county, giving Bobcats an opportunity to directly engage with the locals.
Every year, local businesses, schools, parks, non-profit organizations and residents reach out to the Bobcat Build committee and apply as potential jobsites for the event. Once locations are selected and scheduled, volunteers are tasked with activities such as lawn clean up, house painting and landscaping. Jobsite leaders discharge groups of up to 20 volunteers to these locations around the city.
Marissa Trevino, communication disorders senior and co-director of the Bobcat Build Planning Committee, joined Bobcat Build as a freshman member of the committee and assumed an officer position her junior year.
According to Trevino, there is an occasional disconnect between Texas State students and the reality of their presence in San Marcos.
“The whole purpose of Bobcat Build [is] to say thank you to the residents of San Marcos because we’re just a bunch of students who basically plopped ourselves in San Marcos in the middle of their downtown area,” Trevino said. “Being students, we… don’t realize we’re not the only ones living in San Marcos.”
According to Trevino, the older San Marcos demographics have expressed a growing amount of appreciation for the event and Texas State students. She also believes past attendance numbers show an increasing amount of enthusiasm in student volunteers since last year’s volunteer attendance of about 4,500 is a substantial rise from the previous year’s 4,000 volunteers.
However, Trevino predicts that this year’s volunteer count will either remain the same as last year’s or dip lower due to the halt on Greek life activities on campus.
“Our numbers really do come from Greek life because they have to do (community service) hours,” Trevino said. “Bobcat Build is fun for them. They enjoy it, so it’s something they look forward to. But then sometimes it does kind of hurt our numbers… for instance, the situation we’re in now. But it just makes our staff work harder… to be more involved with the campus in general.”
Despite the large number of volunteers each year, and despite the committee’s efforts to improve outreach, there are still students who have never volunteered.
According to Jocelyn Sorto, respiratory therapy junior, she never considered volunteering until now although she was first introduced to the organization her freshman year.
“I think Bobcat Build’s important because there are a lot of people out there that need help, and why not help if you’re able? And I’m able, so here I am.”