History

In 1999, a group of UT students got together with Keep Austin Beautiful staff to create a single-day, student-run service event.  Their goal was to provide a place for 1000+ UT students to be able complete a sizable service project.  The event, called Project 1000 for the number of students expected to participate, was set at the Rosewood Housing Complex in East Austin. Much to the surprise of all those planning the event, over 2,000 student volunteers poured into the neighborhood to participate!

After witnessing such an outpouring of compassion and service, an emotional Keep Austin Beautiful and a group of UT student leaders decided that “The Project” would become an annual event. The event would be renamed each year to represent a more accurate count of volunteers, as well as signify the year of the event.

The Project has become one of the largest single-day student, community-run service events in Texas. The event has brought together over 2,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community volunteers annually in a spirit of service to assist a local Austin neighborhood in need. And, in response to the work that the annual projects have accomplished, The Project has received numerous awards for community service.

  • 79th Texas State Legislature Resolution H.R. 262 Recognizing UT for Project 2005
  • 77th Texas State Legislature Resolution H.R. 249 Recognizing UT for Project 2001
  • 2001 Keep Austin Beautiful Award for Community Improvement
  • 2000 Keep America Beautiful National Award for Community Improvement
  • 2000 Keep Austin Beautiful Award for Community Improvement
  • 1999 Keep Austin Beautiful Award for Community Improvement

Project 2013 – Dove Springs/Onion Creek Plantation

At our 14th Project event, we were able to feed all 1600 of our volunteers, plus our event staff and community partners, thanks to a delicious lunch from LongHorn Steakhouse.  We collected nearly 11,000lbs of trash and brush, and worked on nearly 80 individual projects throughout the neighborhood, including 72 cubic-foot compost bins and a new driveway gate at River City Youth Foundation. In addition, a record 200 students made up for team of event staff for the day, and we piloted a new, fully digital registration system through GivePulse.

  • Landscape and paint refresh at all area parks
  • Painting at residents’ homes, as well as the gym and pool area at the Dove Springs Recreation Center
  • Distribution of nearly 1800 seedling trees to residents, schools, churches, and community centers
  • Painting, trash pick-up, and graffiti removal throughout the neighborhood

Project 2012 – Dove Springs/Onion Creek Plantation

The Dove Springs and Onion Creek Plantation communities embraced The Project with unmatched enthusiasm from the very first meeting.  This community taught committee members and volunteers a lot about what it means to be a true partner with a neighborhood, and how to create a strong network of advocates within a community.  Project 2012 saw a record number of volunteers at 2049, completing 115 different projects at nearly 20 different sites.

Project 2011 – Rundberg Neighborhood

New UT, community, and city partners made Project 2011 a remarkable event, and enabled The Project to really provide high quality work for both volunteers and residents.  UT’s Asian Desi Pacific Islander American Collective (APAC) took ownership of the community fair, and it was our largest event to date.  1House at a Time and H-E-B also jumped on board, providing us with two amazing volunteer sites at homes, and food that was sold as a fundraiser for the Lanier High School band.  Work completed in the Rundberg neighborhood included:

  • Installation of a full watering system for existing trees at Dobie Middle School
  • Landscaping and gardening at Dobie Middle School and Lanier High School
  • Planting of over 100 trees throughout the neighborhood
  • Painting, trash pick-up, and graffiti removal throughout the neighborhood

Project 2010 – St. John Neighborhood

Hot, sunny weather and great campus support helped 2010 to be one of the largest Project events to date!  Over 1600 students, faculty, and staff contributed in a return to one of the oldest and most historic neighborhoods in Austin.  This was an emotional and special year for The Project.  As the event moved into its second decade, the committee mourned the loss of Austin Firefighter Ed Bridges, an active community member and avid Project supporter.  Work completed in the St. John neighborhood included:

  • Installation of fencing at JJ Pickle Elementary School
  • Clearing of trash and debris in Walnut and Buttermilk Creeks
  • Building a supply shed, pond, and garden beds at JJ Pickle Elementary
  • Planted 50 trees throughout the neighborhood
  • Gathered and disposed of over 100lbs of household hazardous waste on behalf of residents

Project 2009 – Rosewood Neighborhood

Our 10th Anniversary Event!

Approached by the Clinton Global Initiative – University committee to host the conference’s service project, the Project 2009 committee decided to undertake the daunting task of coordinating a two-day event.  After moving the date up a week and adding Sunday work sites for an extra 500 volunteers, the committee worked non-stop to pull off our most complicated event to date.  Over 1,500 volunteers came out on Valentine’s Day weekend to participate in the event on February 14 and 15, 2009.  It was a record-breaking year that included our largest number of community partners, nearly five times the typical number of work sites, and our largest Community Fair, held at the Doris Miller Auditorium in Rosewood.  Highlights include:

  • 8 participating City of Austin departments
  • 4 Austin neighborhood associations
  • 11 full homes painted
  • 340 trees planted
  • 6.4 tons of trash collected
  • 92 gallons of paint used
  • 19 businesses donating over $20,000 in materials
  • 47 booths at the Community Fair

A large number of amazing volunteers also returned two weeks later to complete sites that still needed work after the weekend was over.  It was an incredible effort by many different people, and the event could not have been successful without the help of everyone involved!

Project 2008 – Montopolis Neighborhood

Over 1,500 UT students, faculty and staff participated in Project 2008 on February 23, 2008. Project 2008 partnered Keep Austin Beautiful, Allison Elementary, and the Montopolis Recreation Center to beautify and clean up schools, churches, community centers, and recreation areas in the Montopolis neighborhood. There were seven major clean-up and beautification sites where volunteers:

  • Painted and cleaned at St. Edward’s Church
  • Beautified natural areas and creeks at Rhizome Collective and Country Club Creek
  • Worked on flower bed construction and maintenance at Allison Elementary
  • Planted 400 trees at Country Club Creek
  • Painted, cleaned, and organized a children’s library at Comfort House
  • Completed trash pick-up throughout the neighborhood

The beautiful weather for this year’s event was a welcome change that kept the volunteers in high spirits all day. The Community Fair at Allison Elementary provided information for community members about local resources, as well as providing some entertainment and games for families to enjoy. The Project 2008 documentary is currently featured on the UT home page!

Project 2007 – North Austin Rundberg Communities

Over 1,500 UT students, faculty and staff participated in Project 2007 on February 24, 2007. Project 2007 partnered with Barrington and Woolridge Elementary Schools, Lanier High School, and the North Austin Civic Association to beautify and clean up neighborhoods, schools, and creeks in the North Austin and Quail Creek communities. There were more than six major clean-up and beautification sites, where volunteers:

  • Painted over graffiti (nearly a half mile)
  • Beautified local natural areas and creeks
  • Painted a school library and teachers’ lounge
  • Worked on flower bed construction and maintenance
  • Planted flowers, plants, and trees
  • Re-soiled school gardens
  • Completed trash pick-up (13 tons of trash were collected!)

In addition to the service work that was completed, this year’s Project incorporated a Community Fair, which served as a forum for sharing information about local resources among community members and organizations. Some of the services that were offered included free hearing and vision screenings, dental consultations, nutritional information, and financial services. Other local organizations, such as the Austin Police Department’s North Central Command, set up booths to exchange information with the community, and there were fun games and activities for community families and their children.

Project 2006 – St. John Community

On the rainy and cold morning of February 25th, 2006, volunteers and community members did not let the weather dampen their spirits. They arrived in rare fashion ready and willing to serve. Project 2006 had over 2000 students turn out to serve in the St. John neighborhood. The event focused on St. John Community Center and the area within the triangle of I-35, Hwy 290 and Hwy 183.

Service work completed by the volunteers and community included:

  • Neighborhood clean-up
  • Creek cleanup
  • Painting
  • Landscaping
  • Planting dozens of trees
  • Various school improvement projects

Project 2005 – East Austin Holly/Cesar Chavez Neighborhood

On Saturday, February 26, 2005, over 1,400 UT students arrived in East Austin, ready to volunteer despite a cold driving rain. Armed with gloves, ponchos, umbrellas, trash bags, and hand tools, students disbursed to several work sites spread throughout the Holly and Cesar Chavez neighborhoods and in total contributed over 5,000 hours of community service in one day! By the end of the day, students had accomplished multiple tasks to clean and beautify the community:

  • Landscaped two schools
  • Cleaned up playgrounds
  • Re-organized school libraries
  • Worked at a neighborhood sustainable garden
  • Painted and cleaned a neighborhood center
  • Picked up over two tons of trash

Project 2004 – Montopolis Neighborhood

The event returned to the Montopolis Neighborhood to continue some projects from the previous year and tackle new ones. The event was centered at Allison Elementary school. A freak snow shower the night before threatened to doom the event, but despite the low temperatures and snow, over 1200 UT students still came out to complete the work:

  • Painted and added color to 6 hallways of Allison Elementary School
  • Landscaped front of school
  • Cleaned up play grounds around school
  • Cleared over 4 acres of brush and branches prepping lot for a future Habitat for Humanity home build
  • Picked up trash covering over 4 city blocks around the school
  • Made a few snowmen!

Project 2003 – Montopolis Neighborhood

Over 2,000 UT students turned out to serve at the Montopolis Neighborhood in South-East Austin on February 15, 2003. Work centered at Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Park and Allison Elementary School. With the help of community members, UT volunteers, and students from other universities, Project 2003 volunteers:

  • Washed mold off the buildings at Allison Elementary
  • Landscaped, cleaned murals, refurbished play-scapes
  • Tamed an open field for recreational use
  • Worked in pathways and sidewalks
  • Beautified a deserted cemetery, cleaned grave sites, mowed grass, and worked on the fence
  • Worked on three baseball fields
  • Painted the community building, including landscaping and other external improvement
  • Worked in four neighborhood churches
  • Worked at the neighborhood clinic and the recreational center
  • Painted and landscaped over 20 elderly-owned homes

Project 2002 – Bouldin Creek Neighborhood

In 2002, the Project moved south to the central Bouldin Creek neighborhood and Becker Elementary. Project 2002 has been the most successful project to date. The 2000 volunteers completed a lot of work, setting a higher bar for Project 2003! Volunteers were able to:

  • Paint and landscape around Becker Elementary
  • Paint two large murals on the school
  • Clean and restore two campus learning centers
  • Paint and do landscape work at three area churches
  • Clean and landscape at the Boys & Girls Club
  • Clear trash out of over 2 miles of East and West Bouldin Creeks
  • Complete minor repair work & painting on over 10 individual homes

Project 2001 – Springdale Neighborhood

The Austin Parks Foundation & Parks Department joined in on the fun, when on February 17 another 2000 student volunteers focused in on Springdale Neighborhood in East Austin. Work centered on Sims Elementary School and Springdale Park. Service work completed by the volunteers included:

  • Clearing out over 3 acres of brush to expand the park
  • Creating a 6ft wide and 1/2 mile long trail though the park
  • Painting frames and doors at the school
  • Cleaning up play-scapes
  • Minor repair work and painting on over 10 individual homes

Project 2000 – Cesar Chavez Neighborhood

On February 18, 2000, over 2000 UT students turned out to serve in the Cesar Chavez Neighborhood in East Austin. Work centered on Martin Middle School, and a major clean-up of a four square mile area. Thanks to the thousands of volunteers, Project 2000 achieved:

  • Cleaning out of over 50 alleyways
  • Major clean-up and landscaping at the school
  • Landscaping and planning at the area library and community centers
  • Minor repair work and painting on over 20 individual homes

Project 1000 – Rosewood Housing Complex

Project 1000′s success was evident as soon as 2,000 UT volunteers turned out to serve at the Rosewood Housing Complex in February of 1999. With the help of the community, the first Project volunteers:

  • Transported and laid over 15 pallets of sod around the complex
  • Planted over 100 trees and shrubs
  • Washed away mold on walkways, landscapes and buildings
  • Renovated the basketball courts and plays-capes
  • Picked-up trash in the area surrounding the 40 buildings