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State of Orange: A Cowboy Day of Service draws thousands of volunteers


(STILLWATER, Okla., April 15, 2024) — This spring, Oklahoma State University President Kayse Shrum announced a visionary new service project — State of Orange: A Day of Cowboy Service. On Saturday, over 3,000 participants answered the call to make a difference at more than 350 event locations nationwide, demonstrating how the university’s land-grant mission extends beyond the classroom and into the community.

OSU student RachelKate Puckett, serving as co-president of Into the Streets, reached out to Dr. Shrum during the summer to explore avenues for expanding Into the Streets throughout campus. This year, OSU partnered with Into the Streets to create 248 job sites in Stillwater alone, which saw more than 1,900 students and 90 faculty and staff participate.

In Stillwater, the day started at 8 a.m. with volunteers attending a kickoff event with Shrum outside of the Wes Watkins Center. There, participants checked out tools needed for their specific locations and ate breakfast.

“The great thing about OSU is that we all come from different backgrounds, but we all call Stillwater home. It’s our community,” Shrum said. “Today is all about living the Cowboy Code, doing what’s right, giving it our all. Today, we’re dreaming big about making a difference.”

Puckett, a Spears School of Business junior, added her perspective on the impact of volunteer efforts.

“We volunteer because we believe in the power of community; because we understand that small acts of kindness have the potential to create ripple effects of change; and because we recognize that by coming together, we can create a brighter orange for the future,” she said.

Into the Streets co-President Austin McKay said the Cowboy Code challenges students to dream big, work hard and demonstrate good character, and that’s what State of Orange is all about.

“The willingness to lend a helping hand embodies the spirit of compassion and selflessness that lies at the core of our organization and the university,” McKay said.

After celebrating with orange smoke poppers and group pictures, participants headed to their locations and started on various jobs from yard work to painting houses.

Meanwhile, other members of the Cowboy family across the state and the country were getting to work in their own communities. All OSU institutions and campuses planned events, including the OSU Alumni Association, OSU-Oklahoma City, OSU-Tulsa, OSU Center for Health Sciences and OSU Institute of Technology. In total, 67 counties in Oklahoma were represented.

Shrum assisted at Legacy Park Apartments, a senior living facility in Stillwater, where she and students washed windows, gardened and spent time with the residents. Shrum brought students water and worked alongside them to help plant new flowers. Students were excited to be working with the OSU president.

“The way that she loves the students at this campus is really awesome,” OSU freshman Allie Jones said. “I feel her helping us gives us a lot of encouragement.”

Sophomore Kennedy Mims said she loves to see how involved Shrum is in her role as president.

“I feel like she’s always at events and she really cares about the students and the community. She’s very hands-on with everything,” Mims said.

Students were not the only ones excited to have Shrum in attendance for extra help. Residents were eager to shake hands and thank Shrum for helping put on the event.

“I didn’t know about this event since I am newer; other residents were telling me about it so I signed up. I think it’s just wonderful that everyone will come out and help us all on their Saturday morning,” said Barbara Fraze, a Legacy Park Apartment resident.

Students eagerly worked and got to know the seniors they were helping. Many took breaks to walk with their resident and their dog while some residents provided snacks and drinks for their students so they could talk.