Warrior Walk Bridges Westwood Organizations

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  • Participants walk the path in downtown Austin. In addition to the service opportunity, volunteers were able to give a first-hand account of Austin’s beautiful skyline and city life.

  • Participants walk together bearing their Warrior Walk banner proudly. After beginning their journey at Meals on Wheels, they have 5.9 miles left to complete their service event.

  • Volunteers smile as they hand over their donations to the director of Micah 6. This organization was one of the four focus charities of Warrior Walk.

  • SunDancers bag the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in paper sacks to allow for the easy donation of the meal.

  • Michelle Li ’20 smiles as she spreads jam on her sandwich. She and the other package party volunteers contribute to make 400 sandwiches for the homeless.

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To bring change in the community, Westwood Student Council directed a group effort dubbed Warrior Walk. As part of this event, Westwood organizations donated and volunteered for big charities of the greater Austin Area on Saturday, Nov. 13. Specifically, throughout the event, club representatives started at the downtown Meals on Wheels location and made a 5.9 mile walk to reach both the Salvation Army and Meals on Wheels. From there, the bulk of the volunteers gathered to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which later fed around 400 homeless people. As participants embarked on the journey, they left behind a tracing of a ‘W’ shape for Westwood at every stop of the journey.

“To start off, we brought [Westwood organizations] together and assigned them to specific donation centers to collect donations. We chose places that would form a “W” [pathway] that would show when you tracked [the walk on a map service],” Warrior Walk Chair Shruthi Nampoothiri ’19 said. “We had to contact the donation places make sure that they were available and wanted our help. We also had to get sponsors to walk with us for safety reasons. In one of the bigger parts, we made sandwiches for the homeless. We had to collect bread, jam, and peanut butter and once we had it all together, it actually went pretty smoothly [because] I had a lot of help.”

The event proved to be beyond successful, as many of the participating organizations went above and beyond in terms of donation and participating in the long and cold walk. With all of these combined efforts, the Student Council boasted a total of 16 participating organizations, which included National Honor Society, language honor societies, art clubs, and Outreach. 99 volunteers were present at Warrior Walk, and 858 total donations helped local Austin charities. Students also made 400 sandwiches to deliver to the homeless the next morning. Moreover, as this was the first event conducted, this success will set a precedent for many Warrior Walks to come.

“We as Student Council wanted to make a huge impact on the Austin community, so we decided to bring together numerous clubs, use numerous donation services, and just overall help the city of Austin,” Nampoothiri said.

To ensure the event’s success, Student Council officers worked since August to ensure that the vision was feasible and in accordance with district policy. Despite frequent roadblocks, the contributors found creative solutions to confirm the success of the event.

“We are split up into different committees fit since we were donating to four different locations,” Executive President Janice Oh ’19 said. “Two or three officers were in charge of contacting those specific clubs and communication was key for updating them on changes of time in like water park.”

All in all, Warrior Walk captured the nature of Westwood’s relationship with the community and its tremendous abilities of cooperation to achieve that. Though Student Council may not choose to repeat this event next year, they will definitely outsource all of this enthusiasm an experience from Warrior Walk into their school-wide event next year.

“I’m not sure if we’ll do it every single year, but I think that it is a great step in the right direction. Every year we should start doing more projects that involve the entire student body, not just Student Council,” Junior Class Vice President Brandon Qin ’20 said. “But whatever we do next year, we are going to definitely try to get more of the student body involved.”

As intended, a spirit for service was diffused among all participants in Warrior Walk.

“I think Warrior Walk was a really good opportunity to go and actually be a part of a bigger picture. Even though it was cold outside, the walk was a worthwhile experience where I could serve to the community around me, which was a really humbling experience,” Chris Fan ’20 said.