GivingTuesday Celebrated for Eighth Year by Island University Staff and Faculty

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Holiday cheer and a spirit of giving were on display at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and throughout the Coastal Bend on GivingTuesday, held this year on Tuesday, Nov. 30. University staff and faculty completed numerous community service projects for local charities and businesses and took time to lend a helping hand to Islander students.

GivingTuesday was first launched in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y in New York City and has grown to become an independent global nonprofit. The TAMU-CC GivingTuesday event has grown tremendously over the years, with just 44 volunteers in its inaugural year to volunteers now numbering in the hundreds. This year, 244 Islander staff and faculty completed 773 community service hours. 

Dr. David Gurney, TAMU-CC Associate Professor and Chair of the College of Liberal Arts, volunteered to assemble the equipment for a teen hangout at the Corpus Christi YMCA.

“It was wonderful to think that our work was helping lay the foundation for a new space for young people to gather and connect through recreation,” Gurney said. “The concept of GivingTuesday is one that resonates deeply for me. Communities are only as strong as the people who do the work to make them function. Participating in Giving Tuesday over the years has helped to keep me attuned to the opportunity to give back all year round.”

This year, there were a total of 21 service locations, including both off and on campus. A few of the locations that received help were the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay, with volunteers performing maintenance duties as well as decorating the aircraft carrier; gardening work at the Texas State Museum of Asian Cultures; holiday decorating at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History; an on-campus food giveaway for Islander students; and walking and bathing dogs at the Gulf Coast Humane Society, and one lucky dog was even given the gift of a new home. 

“The volunteer group gave our large bamboo a great cleaning, trimming it back all the way to the ground so it can grow back properly after last year’s ice storm,” said Richard Hafemeister, Director of Operations at the Texas Asian Cultures Museum. “I want to say thank you to the volunteers. They did a full weekend’s work in just one morning. It made a huge impact for us.” 

Wanese Butler, TAMU-CC Financial Conflict of Interest and Export Control Officer-Risk Compliance, helped at the “Kids Against Hunger” program, making more than 10,000 ready-to-cook meals for impoverished children and families worldwide.

“It was nice to switch gears from office work to community work,” Butler said. “It was just what my heart needed! I am thankful to give back alongside fellow Islanders, who demonstrated selfless service and zeal to make a difference in others’ lives.”  

 Ann DeGaish, TAMU-CC Associate Vice President and Dean of Students, served as the chair of the planning committee for this year’s event and has been involved in planning the campus event since its inception.

“GivingTuesday gives our campus the opportunity to show our gratitude to the community and the agencies that support the university and our students,” DeGaish said. “I am so appreciative that our administration supports this program and that our faculty and staff have embraced it. I look forward to seeing participation grow and hope that our staff and faculty will continue to make a difference in our community for years to come.”