Local memorial organization cleans up UNF campus


About 30 volunteers from a humanitarian group met Oct. 4 to pick up litter and weed landscape beds around campus. Although students were allowed to sign up and participate, none showed.

The Gandhi Memorial Society, a non-profit organization in Jacksonville, collaborated with South Asian Americans Leading Together and UNF’s Volunteer Center to make the event possible. Physical Facilities provided all the tools needed.

Most of the volunteers were members of the society. Others were children or friends of members, and not affiliated with the university in any way.

The purpose of the event for the Volunteer Center staff was to encourage students to volunteer cleaning up their campus and anywhere in the area, said Lauriane Byll-Cataria, director of the Volunteer Center.

“It was commendable that an organization came on our campus to help us beautify it,” she said.

The theme of this year’s service project was “Solidarity in Service.” Tom Serwatka, UNF vice president and chief of staff, stressed the importance of serving one’s community during his speech at the event.

“Humanity can’t live independently from one another; we must respect and serve humanity, and we are rewarded when giving,” Serwatka said.

The society contacted the Volunteer Center approximately a month ago to see if it could find some sort of project for it to do around the observation of Gandhi’s birthday Oct. 2.

The society chose UNF because they already have a close relationship with the school.

The Gandhi statue was brought on campus because of their efforts, said Ashok Bazaz, president of the Ghandi Memorial Society.

Although UNF could not fund the event because the organization is not on-campus, Bazaz said he approached his community who helped out as much as they could to make it achievable.

Gandhi Memorial Society members speak at different schools in Jacksonville about non-violence and have done other service work around the city.

E-mail Sarah Gojekian at [email protected]