Maryville College alumni give back to school with Volunteer Spirit

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. At Maryville College there is a group of alumni that return each year to the school. It's a celebration of work and Volunteer Spirit.

"I'm doing power washing everywhere on campus," says Yasuo "Joe" Fukui. He's an international student at Maryville College. "I've done in the stadium the bleachers, on the floor, the stairs, like everywhere on campus."

"Joe" is helping the campus curb appeal on his own time.

"I got sunburned a lot around my neck and legs, and I got mosquito bites," he says.

He's not the only one. More than 100 mostly alumni, friends, and some students spend one week of their summer completing odd jobs at their former school.

"Some of them are landscaping, some are carpentry, some are masonry, painting," says one the organizers, Dan Greaser.

This week is named after Kin Takahashi, a Japanese student back in 1888 who help bring a Y.M.C.A. and new gym to the campus.

"I didn't know about him before I came here, but I learned about him after I came here and I thought that would be cool if I go help or do some volunteering," says Joe.

In it's 20th year, this off season homecoming is just what the college needs.

"It allows you to make a contribution to the college even if you can't afford to make a monetary gift in the donation of labor," says Ross Hamory, a Maryville College Alumn.

"Many of them would rather do this than going to the beach," says Greaser.

With an estimate of more than $100 million worth of contributions the hard work is good not just for the college.

"You would think, why would someone volunteer to do this for a week? It's that sense of comraderie and accomplishment that they have and wouldn't get at home or working on a project for a neighbor or something," says Greaser.

"Many people who come most would say I wouldn't miss it. I'll see you next year," says Greaser.

That's a lot of "see you next year"'s for international student Joe.

"I met a lot of alumni here, and I learned about the history of Maryville College and I have a lot of connections now," says Joe.