Operation Blue & Gold Serves the Commerce Community
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The Texas A&M University-Commerce campus came together to participate in community service around the City of Commerce during Operation Blue and Gold, hosted by the L.E.A.D. department Oct. 8.
The event was the startup of a previous community service event held at A&M-Commerce that originally began at A&M-College Station and is now nationally recognized.
“It’s nationally known now, but it originated at College Station,” L.E.A.D. Graduate Assistant Domonique Smith said. “There, they started it as The Big Event. It was basically getting everybody to come together on campus, and just going out to the community and doing service. At one point in time, like four or five years ago, we used to do The Big Event here.”
The launch of Operation Blue and Gold brought participation from A&M-Commerce students and campus departments, organizations and sports teams.
“We had fraternities and sororities that were there,” Smith said. “Different departments from different areas were also there. So, it wasn’t just Campus Life and Development, which is the department I work under. We had people from the Math Department that came and helped, people from certain areas of the Science Department that came, people from athletics came, and a few alumni that even came and people from orientation came. There was a big, diverse group of people and students there.”
Participants of Operation Blue and Gold went to different areas around Commerce to perform different community service activities, increasing awareness of the help needed in the city.
Amy Fonseca, administrative assistant for the L.E.A.D. Department, said the mission of Operation Blue and Gold is to teach students about giving back to their community and leadership.
“The L.E.A.D. Department really encourages students to understand that being a leader is not just being a leader of an organization or telling someone what to do,” Fonseca said. “Part of that leadership is understanding that your community matters, and if you’re going to try to lead someone to a direction or to a certain understanding, you can’t just leave your community behind. We want our students to understand that the community matters, people around you matter, and service matters. That’s part of leadership. If you can’t give back, then you’re not doing everything you need to do as a leader.”
Commerce Mayor Wyman Williams spoke to students after their community service was completed at a luncheon in the field house. Williams thanked students for their time dedicated to serving Commerce and encouraged them to keep serving their community.
“What it did was demonstrate to our city that there is concern from university students about our future, how we look to newcomers, and they proved it today by showing up in huge numbers to help,” Williams said. “We hope this continues and is even bigger than we saw today.”
The A&M-Commerce African American Mentorship Program (AAMMP) was one of the many organizations in attendance at the event. AAMMP member Khristian Johnson said Operation Blue and Gold is a representation of what AAMMP stands for.
“AAMMP cares about its community and the people within,” Johnson said. “This event really helped us exemplify that goal by displaying that we care about it by going to various places around the city including the high school and middle school. Cleaning up, picking up trash, even doing things such as repainting the parking lot, simple things like that show we care about the community in which we live.”