By Daniel Perez
Almost 1,500 Miners got up early on Feb. 27, 2016, to continue the tradition of serving El Paso as part of UTEP’s seventh annual Project MOVE, which stands for Miner Opportunities for Volunteer Experiences.
The volunteers – mostly students – traveled to 60 job sites across the region to assist nonprofit organizations with projects that will enhance the lives of children, the elderly and everyone in between. They landscaped, painted, constructed mobility ramps, instructed young athletes, shared fire safety information, prepared community gardens and assisted in general cleanup. Regardless of the assignment, the UTEP volunteers brought energy and enthusiasm to their tasks.
Project MOVE is one of many UTEP community service projects throughout the year that provide opportunities to directly or indirectly assist residents in the region. According to the latest figures available, UTEP volunteers recorded 808,165 hours of community service in 2014 valued at more than $18 million.
The goal of events such as Project MOVE is to create more well-rounded students who are familiar with the needs of their community and its residents. UTEP organizers hope the volunteers recognize the value of community service and continue to be involved wherever their professional careers take them.
“It was very rewarding to me,” said Leon Santoyo, a senior criminal justice major and former Marine who was among a team of military-affiliated students who helped beautify and reorganize the USO at Fort Bliss. “I know we made a difference.”