BY: BRITTANY GARRETT, STAFF REPORTER
Many Butler University students volunteer their time in various organizations to better the Indianapolis community and environment. Above and beyond the average volunteer, however, is one of the university’s professors.
Last month, Alison O’Malley, an assistant professor of psychology, organized and participated in service projects across the city with her new organization, Indy Do Day.
Inspiration for this event came from other days of service around the state. Indy Do Day is directed specifically towards Indianapolis companies and residents.
The idea behind this day of volunteerism is to devote one day a year to help the Indianapolis community.
“The most frequent reason people do not volunteer is lack of time,” wrote O’Malley in her essay, “Balancing Profit, Planet and People.”
This led to the devotion of a singly day away from work or school to assist the community.
Indy Do Day turned out to be a three-day series, making the time commitment easier by offering more options.
O’Malley became involved in the formation of this organization through service in another project.
“I was in a group doing reconstruction to Indy waterways. It was one of Eli Lilly’s pet projects,” O’Malley said. “From there, many people on that board are also the leaders of the fairly newer day of service.”
This waterways project is one of the many projects a student may still volunteer for as part of Indy Do Day.
Other opportunities include making and distributing food, painting murals and acting in what O’Malley calls “beautification projects.”
With regard to positive psychology, O’Malley said she hopes people who participate have a greater level of happiness and make selflessness a habit.
“Evidence suggests that organizations that strategically implement corporate volunteer programs gain business advantages, improve the well-being of their employees and have a positive impact on the community,” O’Malley said. “Employees have stronger intentions to remain with the organization because of CVP-based pride.”
Many organizations around Butler’s campus are focused on providing volunteer opportunities for students.
Butler used its Bulldogs in the Streets program as its contribution to Indy Do Day this year, but O’Malley said she hopes for more next year.
“For next time around, we hope for a more integrated approach with Butler students,” O’Malley said. “I think it would be important for them to see their positive impact.”
In addition to work from Butler students, an estimated 15,000 people participated in last month’s Indy Do Day.
“It was the largest involvement of Indianapolis people for a non-profit cause,” O’Mally said. “It was also a completely grassroots volunteer movement. The city did not sponsor anything; there was no budget.”