Texas State students will have an opportunity to express their gratitude to the San Marcos community April 2 by participating in the 14th annual Bobcat Build, the second-largest service event in the state.
Bobcat Build is a student-led organization that formulates a structure for students to come and serve the community by volunteering. This year, the event will consist of 4,300 students at approximately 300 different job sites, which exceeds last year’s turnout.
Naomi Faltin, programs co-chair, is serving as an officer of Bobcat Build this year after starting as a volunteer and consequently moving up to a member of the planning committee.
“I know that when it was first starting, it was a lot smaller, and now it has grown probably five or six times as much,” Faltin said. “As the university is growing, the event is growing and it’s been really positive.”
To get involved in Bobcat Build, people can sign up online as an individual or with a group of friends. After signing up participants will work from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. at their assigned job site.
Emily Lund, programs co-chair, has been a part of Bobcat Build for three years. She started as a member of the committee freshman year, and is now in her second year of serving as an officer.
“Usually it’s elderly people that we are helping, so its gardening, moving rocks and updating gravel pathways,” Lund said. “It’s in the spring, so a lot of people need leaves raked and gardens replanted with fresh flowers.”
Faltin said Bobcat Build is a great bonding event because it unites students and faculty as well as the university community with native residents of San Marcos.
Mikaela Ramirez, physics junior, will participate in the event with her Austin Stone small group. She said getting involved with Bobcat Build is exciting.
“It’s the first thing I have actually been involved in,” Ramirez said. “So (it’s exciting) to go out with community and get to be a part of something bigger than just what we are doing by ourselves.”
Another way to become a part of Bobcat Build is to join the planning committee.
“The planning committee is a group of students who work year-long behind the scenes in order to make all of this happen,” Faltin said.
The planning committee currently consists of about 50 students who are split up in four different subcommittees. Each subcommittee does job site evaluations. They will meet with every participating homeowner to determine how many volunteers are needed, what kind of work needs to be done and what tools they need.
Faltin said the time consuming responsibilities of the committee helped coin their motto, “A year of planning, a day of service.” Anyone is allowed to join the planning committee by filling out an application.
“It’s been really cool to see the teamwork involved,” Faltin said. “If we set up the structure and no one comes, that’s not going to work, and if there is thousands of students who are anxious to do work but there is no structure, that is not going to work either. It’s like students helping students connect to the community.”
The most important thing about Bobcat Build is the relationship between the university and city community, Lund said.
“I think this is an opportunity for homeowners to feel like they are important to the university and that the students care about them,” Lund said. “And then at the same time I think it’s important for the students to realize that the people they cut off in traffic and the parking spots they steal are real people who didn’t ask for a university to be shoved in the middle of their city, but are all the more gracious to have us here.”