Jack and his friends aglow.
Jack and his friends aglow.

Salukis generate PR, goodwill through pumpkin carving

The city of Carbondale has always been good to its university students. As a result, many organizations on campus are happy to help around the community in any way they can. Saluki Service Days are the University’s way to give back and generate positive PR, too.

What are Saluki Service Days? Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Student Affairs started hosting the Saluki Service Day events in 2015 “in order to create a culture of service within student life at SIU.” Today, the SIU Center for Service-Learning and Volunteerism webpage has a Volunteer Portal with shifts for specific events or organizations. Students can then sign up for these shifts to earn volunteer hours for their respective organizations, classes, clubs, or any other service hour requirements students may need. Interested students can find the Center for Service-Learning and Volunteerism Volunteer Portal.

One of the many agencies that Saluki Service Days work with is The Women’s Center Inc. The center in Carbondale was founded in 1972 and was one of the first domestic violence centers in the country. The Women’s Center continues to provide a safe environment for women and children today. One can find more information on The Women’s Center website.

Since 2017, The Women’s Center has hosted the Pumpkin Glow and Stroll Event. Located at Heartland Regional in Marion, the event provides a safe and fun pre-Halloween experience for friends and family. Over 500 carved pumpkins line the walkway around the pond at Heartland Regional. Halloween decorations and candy is also on display. This year the event is on Friday, October 29, and Saturday, October 30, from 6:00-9:00 P.M. The event Facebook page can be found here.

One might ask themselves, more than 500 carved pumpkins?! This task is where Saluki Service Days enters the picture. Students who volunteered through the portal before October 25 assisted the Women’s Center to carve the number of pumpkins needed to support the event and continue making the experience a fun tradition for the Southern Illinois community.

One SIU student, senior Jack Miller, who is the chair for community service within Kappa Alpha Order, is already signed up to volunteer for the event. “Community service events provide a sense of purpose not just for our organization, but for the community as a whole,” Miller said. “Not only is it great to help around the community, especially an organization like The Women’s Center, but it (community service) brings people of all walks of life together for a common goal. It really is a great thing and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Another SIU student, sophomore Ben Selsor, attended the Pumpkin Carving on October 25. He said the following: “It (the carving) went really well! There were a lot of people there when I arrived and each of us carved multiple pumpkins each.” He went on to say, “With the number of pumpkins we carved in just the two hours I was there, I’d say we (the volunteers) made a huge contribution to the event.” Ben finished with, “Tragically, I was only able to carve four pumpkins in the time I could be there, but it was a fun time, and it was great to help out with the event!”

All in all, Saluki Service Days are a great way to help others and have fun while doing it. While you may have missed the deadline already for the pumpkin carving, the Volunteer Portal provides opportunities to serve the community year-round. So, if you want to help out, make sure to check-in online and see what you can do for your community. Sometimes you can do good while generating some goodwill, as well.

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