By Rebecca Fiedler for TheEagle.com
In honor of former President George H.W. Bush, #41ActsofService — a social media campaign started by alumni of Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service — served to motivate others to show selfless love to those in need Saturday.
The day was launched to honor of the memory of Bush, who died one year ago Saturday.
A small group of Bush School students gathered at the school’s campus Saturday morning with faculty member Holly Kasperbauer, who serves as assistant director of Public Service Leadership Program. The students carried with them several bags of grocery items, while Kasperbauer supervised a bouncing, playful puppy on a leash.
“I’m taking dog toys to donate to the nonprofit I’m fostering [the puppy] with,” Kasperbauer explained. “People are doing things today in Washington, D.C., and I think I saw that some were doing things in Denver and Houston. … One thing I think is neat about our students is that they do these kinds of things year-round.”
While Kasperbauer continued to care for foster puppy Gigi and planned to donate the chew toys, Bush School students Aaron Rochow, Danyale Kellogg and Maria Peurach prepared to caravan from campus to Family Promise of Bryan-College Station, where they would drop off items such as paper goods and soap.
“Family Promise does a lot of great things,” said Rochow, a first-year Bush School student. “They support families in the area who need assistance, especially single moms. A lot of people donate food, but they also need things like paper plates and laundry detergent.”
Kellogg, also a first year student, had pre-emptively performed a second act of service earlier in the week, baking cookies for the men and women at Twin City Mission in Bryan. She said she first became aware of the campaign Tuesday, when a mass email was shared, originating from Tiffany Easter, a recent graduate from the Bush School class of 2019. The challenge of this campaign, organized by the class of 2019, was for all people to make a special effort to donate, volunteer or otherwise do something kind for another person on Saturday, honoring the late president’s interest in public service.
“When there’s an opportunity like that, you take it,” Kellogg said.
Easter spoke to The Eagle from her home in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she donated clothes to her local Salvation Army.
“They’re expecting a pretty rough winter and need things like hand warmers, scarves and ponchos,” she said.
Easter and her peers with the class of 2019 also coined the social media tag #41ActsofService, a hashtagged term that could be used to share the movement all over the world.
“We spread the word to Bush School faculty and staff, and to former students, too,” she said, though she noted everyone, regardless of their affiliation to Texas A&M and the Bush School, was invited to participate. “…Even though President Bush is not with us anymore, we’re doing this to honor his legacy.”
Back in College Station, recent Bush School graduate Marty Mulgrew committed to purchase a T-shirt for a fundraiser benefiting the local nonprofit OnRamp, which provides means of transportation for families in need. He also took time to post about OnRamp on social media. Mulgrew said he was happy to be a part of the event because he finds Bush an inspiring figure.
“Part of why I came here is [because] public service, his family and his faith were what was important to President Bush,” Mulgrew said. “That’s important to me, and that’s what really drew me to [attend] the Bush School… One of the things I think is most inspiring to me is [Bush] starting the Point of Light [awards], which highlight organizations that help their communities.” Dallas resident and Bush School alumna Caroline Wold is a board member for OnRamp and said she planned to donate to OnRamp for #41ActsofService. Georgia Gandy, another alumna living in Katy, said she and her fiance would be donating clothing to a homeless shelter and making Christmas cards for people with disabilities, while current Bush School staffer Nicole Collier said she set up a Christmas village display at her grandfather’s assisted living center.
Rochow noted that while it was hard to congregate a large volunteer group over the holiday break, sharing kindness is a practice that comes naturally to many Bush School students.
“It’s the spirit of public service that’s why we’re at the Bush School it’s what we want to do year-round at the core this is who Bush School students are.”