AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - University of Texas at Austin’s largest day of service kicked off Saturday in the Rundberg area. More than a thousand students, volunteers and members from the community came out to help beautify the neighborhood.
UT’s Filipino Student’s Association helped strip and repaint Dobie Middle School’s tennis court. Volunteer Coordinator Albert Tinay said the back wall of the court was in need of repair. “It seems really uninviting before we came here and so now after we paint it more students might be willing to try tennis because they see the tennis court," said Tinay.
Austin Police officers were one of the many volunteers from the community.
Officer Rafael Kianes said in the past Rundberg accounted for 11 percent of violent crimes in Austin. "We saw our youth which makes up 30-percent of the community have very little parks, very little to do and also when they were getting out of school they were attacked by gangs and that sort of thing so we were having a big problem in the area," said Kianes.
In 2012, the department received a grant to restore Rundberg through what Kianes reffered to as crime prevention through environmental design. The department has improved lighting and community engagement resulting in lower crime statics in the area. "Huge improvements and it's not just the crime levels which they have gone down some areas have gone down 50 percent," said Kianes.
The university will volunteer in a different neighborhood in Austin for another four years.