When I was a boy and young man, community service was of little or no interest to me. I’m not sure why. Perhaps I considered my Naval service career enough. No one had even thought of recycling or wearing a seat belt for that matter. We had sacrificed during the war.
Now, I’m noticing a growing importance for serving our communities around the world, particularly among today’s young people – the Gen X and Y’s. Marriott’s college recruiters report and our new hires want to work for a socially responsible company.
It really hit home for me when students at the BYU Marriott School of Management – for its 25th anniversary – launched a “Spirit to Serve” community service campaign named after ours at Marriott International. “Studying” and “volunteering” were two activities I never considered doing together in college. Today’s generation thinks otherwise. Good for them.
The BYU goal is impressive. At the entrance to the school, stands a large lucite-shaped “M.” Inside, blue tennis balls mark the progress. The goal is to fill it up and reach 25,000 hours of community service. Each ball equals one hour. It’s a great visual reminder. But more than that, it’s a wonderful tribute to our company’s culture of service.
I’ve learned a lot by volunteering. I don’t cook a lot, but I did for DC Central Kitchen. At the Atlanta Food Bank, bagging groceries was tricky for me. At a Habitat for Humanity build, I was pretty good at tossing some loose rocks out of the way and hammering. I ran with the torch-in-hand to kick-off our yearly Children’s Miracle Network activities.
It’s nice to know that Marriott’s “Spirit to Serve” will be in good hands with this giving-back next generation. I’m passing the torch, may it shine brightly.
P.S. Since recording this blog, the school reached its goal of 25,000 hours of service and the "Big M" is filled with tennis balls. Congratulations!