In photos: A day of service

The BaseCamp Day of Service capped off a new week-long orientation program for UAlberta first-year students living in residence. The day was a chance for students to connect with the larger community by lending a hand on projects from refilling playground sandboxes to cleaning up parks in Edmonton's river valley. And with alumni volunteers joining in the effort and sharing their experience with the students, it was a chance for the UAlberta community to "Do Great Things" together. (13 photos total)

Lamia and Shireen

Third-year biology student Lamia (left) and first-year Lister resident Shireen show off the T-shirts and bandanas students and alumni wore for the Day of Service. Lamia, who lives in the International House residence, saw the day as an opportunity to support new students. "I know how scary it can be for first-years," she says.

Volunteers cross 87 Avenue en route to Quad

Student volunteers from Lister Hall make their way across 87 Avenue en route to the Main Quad.

Volunteers for the Capital City Clean Up assemble in Quad

A large crowd of volunteers assemble in the Main Quad for a safety briefing. The students and alumni then split into smaller groups and headed to several nearby locations to help out with Edmonton's Capital City Clean Up. Students from Résidence Saint-Jean also took part in the project by cleaning up two city parks.

Mohamed Elsanabary, post-doctoral fellow in civil and environmental engineering, was one of the alumni who joined in the Day of Service.

U of A alumnus Mohamed Elsanabary returned to his alma mater as a post-doctoral fellow in civil and environmental engineering. The native of Egypt is studying the effects of oilsands projects on water bodies at the surface and underground, with the goal of informing government policy on oilsands development.

Students shovel new sand into a sandbox at the daycare playground in HUB Mall.

Two volunteers shovel fresh sand into a sandbox at the U of A's daycare facility in HUB Mall. Many hands made light work of this project, thanks to the number of students who showed up to help out.

Mark Lawley, second-year residence advisor at Lister Hall

Second-year residence adviser Mark Lawley takes a moment to remind his fellow volunteers who's boss. Lawley, who was born in New Brunswick and lived in Fort McMurray before coming to the U of A, says he enjoyed his first year in residence so much that he wanted to pass along that positive experience to new students.

Brock Richardson, one of the organizers of the BaseCamp orientation program for first-year students living in residence

Brock Richardson, student success specialist with Residence Services, is one of the organizers of BaseCamp. He says the week-long residence orientation is part of the U of A's learning environment, giving students and parents-especially those from other countries-more time to adjust to a big change. "If students feel more comfortable with campus and with each other, they're more likely to succeed."

Jeff Sawyer: Volunteer today, engineer tomorrow

First-year engineering student Jeff Sawyer was on the cleanup crew at Emily Murphy Park in Edmonton's river valley. Born in the community of Cochrane near Calgary, Sawyer chose the U of A for its prestigious engineering program and its status as a top Canadian university. He chose residence life because "it's better to do things with people, get to know people. I was told residence is the time of your life; so far that's been true."

A group of students helped the Garneau Community League capture the historical flavour of the neighbourhood for posterity.

Volunteers take snapshots of houses nestled amid lush greenery along 84 Avenue in the Garneau community. The volunteers captured the neighbourhood's historical character by photographing locations assigned by the Garneau Community League.

Emma Herle, first-year education student and lover of all things Edmonton, including the U of A

First-year education student and Lister resident Emma Herle pauses from picking up litter in Emily Murphy Park. Herle, who hails from the rural community of Galahad, Alberta, is a self-professed lover of Edmonton and its array of summer festivals. "You have to help clean up your community and give back," she says. "I'll live here for the rest of my life if I can."

Norma and Cheryl Harbottle

Norma and Cheryl Harbottle are siblings, but they're also members of a far bigger family. Norma (left), a retired teacher with three U of A degrees, and Cheryl, a retired nurse, both worked for a time in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, where they helped set up a program for children with cerebral palsy to work with LEGO robots. "It's great to come back and be part of the U of A," says Cheryl. "We met some wonderful people today. These kids give us hope for the future."

After their community service was done for the day, the volunteers came back to Quad for a barbecue.

Volunteers enjoy the fruits of their community labours: a barbecue party in Quad to wrap up the Day of Service and the week of BaseCamp orientation.

Student volunteers get some well-deserved rest and relaxation after a job well done at the BaseCamp Day of Service Aug.30, 2013

As the Day of Service comes to a close, volunteers enjoy some well-deserved rest and conversation in Quad after a job well done.