As a young girl, Amy Harper wanted to be the President of the United States. As she got older, she realized that she didn’t have to be president to change the worldâ€”change begins when you are willing to serve others and make a difference. It is this realization that brought Harper to organize Mays and the Bryan-College Station community for Project Mays.
For four weekends this spring, Mays students put more than 700 volunteer hours in at College Station’s Wolf Pen Creek parks and recreation area. More than 500 business students and faculty installed new interpretive display panels, put together a disc golf course, planted trees and cleaned up the creek.
Harper, a junior marketing major and active member of the Business Student Council, first contacted the City of College Station in September to see how Mays could get involved in the community. City administrators wanted to tune up Wolf Pen Creek and needed energetic volunteers. Harper asked Mays faculty to help encourage student participation with extra credit for volunteer hours.
The first weekend’s creek cleanup turned into a friendly competition among business student groups, with about 250 students giving time for service. Students continued to log volunteer hours for the rest of the weekends, ending with a final round of work at the creek on Earth Day, April 22.
Project Mays is the first external community service project sponsored by the Business Student Council. “We’ve always had community service within the business school, but not past that,” Harper says.
The project has earned the support of more than service-minded students. Tax consulting firm Ryan & Company and its Aggie employees donated $3,000 to the effort, ensuring that all volunteers were equipped with supplies including t-shirts. And even the top administrators at Mays got involvedâ€”Deans Jerry Strawser and Bala Shetty brought their children out to volunteer alongside the business students.
Harper grew up with a heart for community service, and has had a distinct vision throughout planning for Project Mays. “The first day was a clean up. Essentially it’s exciting, but I wanted more than that because the clean up could be gone in a week,” she said. “I wanted to do something that would have a long lasting impact. I wanted people to have a sense of pride in the work they had done.”