On a recent Saturday afternoon, hundreds of St. Mary’s University students came together to continue the University’s tradition of service. On Jan. 24, between 300-400 students lent a helping hand during the spring semester’s “Continuing the Heritage Day.” The students put in more than 1,500 service hours in just that one day alone. Each semester, the 10 year tradition of “Continuing the Heritage” directly and indirectly helps thousands of people in San Antonio.

Students projects ranged from volunteering at family and children’s shelters to doing grounds work at the State Hospital to bathing dogs at the Humane Society. Students also partnered with the City of San Antonio Housing and Neighborhood Services Graffiti Abatement Program, Woodlawn Hills Neighborhood Association and Huppertz Elementary to clean up graffiti in the Woodlawn area; the Southwest Workers Union to expand the sustainable east side Roots of Change Community Garden; and assisted the Roy Maas Youth Alternatives, Inc. Thrift Shop with organizing and tagging clothes.

Continuing the Heritage was started in 1998 to help develop student servant leaders in the Catholic Marianist tradition. It is held at the start of each new semester and is sponsored by the St. Mary’s Service Learning Center and the Marianist Leadership Program.

More than 70 percent of our students participate in community service; last year students engaged in more than 70,000 community service hours. Accordingly, St. Mary’s has been recognized by the President of the United States’ Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

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