Christina Casci

The Grover Beach Park and Recreations Department honored Cal Poly with the Volunteer Service Organization of the Year Award.

The award honored students who have helped the department with service projects, such as the Mother-Son Dinner Dance and the Pumpkin Carving contest, but was given to Cal Poly as a whole.

People in the Parks and Recreation Department appreciate the work the students do, said Nora O’Donnell, recreation coordinator for the department, adding that “the students are professional and serious about what they are doing.”

Students pose no difficulties to the people running the projects and the biggest problem is the scheduling conflicts, which can even be worked around, she said.

Those in the recreation parks and tourism administration major are required to have 1,000 hours of experience before they can get an internship, said Bill Hendricks, program coordinator in the recreation parks and tourism administration department. Most of that time is done in volunteering, he said.

While some students plan entire events with Grover Beach, some simply volunteer for a day, said Marnie Goldenburg, a Cal Poly faculty member in the recreation parks and tourism administration department. Some students even work for the city as interns.

Currently, students are helping Grover Beach plan the Mother-Son Dinner Dance. Students help the most with this event but all of the events have a large student influence, O’Donnell said.

Not only was the recreation parks and tourism administration major honored, so was the athletics department. The Cal Poly women’s basketball team helped Grover Beach put on a free basketball clinic for children. In past years, Cal Poly’s baseball team held a clinic for children as well.

“The children especially like the basketball clinic,” O’Donnell said. “The kids get to hang out with tall women who are good at basketball, and they all work well with children.”

There is even a class offered at Cal Poly, Rec 210, introduction to program design, in which students plan a whole event throughout the course of the quarter, Goldenburg said. The event is then usually held during the eighth or ninth week.

Grover Beach benefits greatly from the students’ time and the students benefit equally from the time they spend on the projects, Hendricks said.

“There is a great relationship between that city and Cal Poly,” he said. “That relationship will definitely continue in the future.”

O’Donnell invites students to get involved with community service.

“In the past, the students brought friends and that is always a big help. The planning only takes three or four people but the actual event takes much more,” she said.

Many positive things come out of the students helping the community, Goldenburg said.

“We appreciate everything the students do and look forward to many profitable adventures with them,” O’Donnell said.

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