Project 123: Engaging William Woods University Students in Service

Students participating in Project 123 conduct various community service projects, including river cleanup. Standing, left to right: Travis Tamerius, Jasmine Meurer, Randi Lauby, Andrea Garcia, TJ Thweatt; sitting on the rocks, left to right: Katherine Gaines and Rochelle Garcia.
Students participating in Project 123 conduct various community service projects, including river cleanup. Standing, left to right: Travis Tamerius, Jasmine Meurer, Randi Lauby, Andrea Garcia, TJ
Thweatt; sitting on the rocks, left to right: Katherine Gaines and Rochelle Garcia.

Serve the world, see the world. This is the motto of William Woods University’s Project 123, a new service-based scholarship program. Students who are selected and complete 123 hours of community service are given a stipend to participate in Woods Around the World.

This year nearly WWU 50 students will travel to Greece and Turkey with Woods Around the World for a 12-day educational and cultural adventure during spring break. They leave March 22.

WWU’s Center for Ethics and Global Studies created Project 123 with the generous help of the Lambert Foundation. The goal is to make the opportunity of traveling overseas available to anybody.

“They (the Lambert Foundation) were especially interested in helping students travel who may not have traveled before because of financial considerations,” said Travis Tamerius, director of the Center for Ethics and Global Studies.

“When we spoke with them, they let us know that they were going to make funds available,” he said. “We decided to add some value to the investment by connecting it with

Children attending the “Kids Hoo Care” day camp, conducted by Project 123, stand in front of the teepee where they learned about Native American customs and culture.
Children attending the “Kids Hoo Care” day camp, conducted by Project 123, stand in front of the teepee where they learned about Native American customs and culture.

community service.”

Tamerius added, “An important component of The Center for Ethics and Global Studies, Project 123 awards students a generous travel stipend in exchange for 123 hours of community service. Students first serve the world by giving their time and attention to improving their local communities. Then they see the world by traveling with Woods Around the World over spring break.”

The student participants in Project 123 are finding ways to serve their communities while having a great time in the process. They are caring for animals in shelters, conducting river cleanups, serving in food banks, mentoring the young, helping the mentally and physically disabled, and so much more.

They are doing their part to make the world a better place, and they are finding that sometimes, it’s the small things that end up making a big difference.

“This year’s inaugural team of award recipients are already hard at work, contributing to the needs of countless local agencies,” Tamerius said. “Before they are finished, they will donate nearly 2,500 hours in community service, and then, over spring break, these students will travel to Turkey and Greece to learn more about life in the global village.”

During the “Kids Hoo Care” day camp, sponsored by Project 123, youngsters choose items to fill backpacks for Lakota Sioux children on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
During the “Kids Hoo Care” day camp, sponsored by Project 123, youngsters choose items to fill backpacks for Lakota Sioux children on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Project 123 will not only benefit the community, but also the individual participants. They will have the chance to travel, learn about new cultures and make lasting memories.

“My favorite part is the opportunity we have to make a difference in our communities … we get to work together as a team and learn more about the needs within our community and apply some muscle power, some skill, and some time to try to make a difference,” said Tamerius.

“I also like the idea that we are serving the world to see the world and so you’re going to have students who have never been out of the country who now have a great vehicle by which to go because someone has made it available. To people who have never been on a plane, people who have never been out of the country, you’re giving the gift of travel and broadening people’s horizons.”