SGA’s BAPI returns, adds Community Fest celebration

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Sam Houston State University’s Student Government Association largest community service project Bearkat All Paws In (BAPI) will return for the eighth year on April 22 starting at 8 a.m.

The campus-wide event that encourages individual students and organizations to spend one day doing community service across the city of Huntsville, Walker county, and other nearby counties has been in the works since mid-February.

“The first time I participated in Bearkat All Paws In, I was a part of the Student Government as a Senator.” BAPI director, Maggie Torres said. “Ever since then I have devoted myself to this project and I’ve been director of this project for two years now.”

You can visit the Student Government Association’s website at shsu.edu/sga to sign-up or visit their office to register in person at the Lowman Student Center Room 326 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students are encouraged to register beforehand, but can still signup that morning.

BAPI will be on Earth Day and will begin at 8 a.m. starting with check-ins at the Lowman Student Center.

Participating students and organizations will be provided with a t-shirt and a small breakfast while supplies last.

“We are working diligently with the university to make sure that check in runs smoothly this year,” Torres said.

Then participants will head out with a SGA senator site leader to go to various locations for their designated community service projects.

It is recommended by Director Torres that students prepare themselves for the event beforehand. Students are encouraged to check the weather that weekend, wear comfortable shoes and get plenty of sleep prior.

“For several years we have run into rainy weather, and as a committee we would like to make sure our volunteers stay dry,” Torres said.

This year there are several additions to BAPI. SGA will have two new collaborations and a celebration after BAPI.

The SHSU Faculty Senate, who normally hosts their own smaller community service project, has reached out to the SGA and offered a collaboration to include the city parks as new locations to help clean up. Additionally, the Bearkats of The Woods, a student advancement group at the Sam Houston Center in the Woodlands, will also be collaborating for the first time with the SGA on the SHSU main campus.

“This year we [SGA] reached out to the Woodland Center to participate in Bearkat All Paws In,” Torres said. “The Woodlands Center will be doing community service in their city to further expand the reach of the university.”

After the community service projects are completed for the day all volunteers and the general public will be invited to the first Community Fest.

“This year SGA is working closely with the city to create Community Fest, “ Torres said. “It is a way for the students of Sam Houston and the citizens of Huntsville to come together and have fun. We encourage the city of Huntsville to come out and enjoy Community Fest this year in celebration of Bearkat All Paws In.”