“I never thought I’d be building a float for a parade,” says Jack Raubolt, Vice President of Community Relations at Chapman University. But not only did Raubolt oversee the building of a float to represent Chapman in the recent May Day Parade through Historic Old Towne Orange, but the float won a trophy as the Float Sweepstakes winner.

The parade, which took place on May 4th, is a City of Orange tradition that dates back to 1933, when it heralded the beginning of the Valencia Orange packing season. This year marks the return of the parade after a 28-year hiatus. “The parade is an event that the whole city looks forward to,” says Al Ricci, president of the Orange Chamber of Commerce, which organized the parade. “It was fantastic … a great day for the city.”

Raubolt, who also serves on the Executive Board of the Orange Chamber of Commerce, knew Chapman had to be involved in a big way. “Chapman cares about supporting the growth and development of the City of Orange,” he says, “And we care about the community we call home.” Chapman was also a Platinum Sponsor of the event.

To showcase the university’s involvement with the community, the float featured placards highlighting the various non-profits the university supports, including: Orange Chamber of Commerce, Old Towne Preservation Association, HomeAid Orange County, Orange Public Library Foundation, Orange Home Grown, OC GRIP, Friendly Center, Youth Centers of Orange, Community Foundation of Orange and Community Action Partnership of Orange County. The float was accompanied by representatives from some of the groups, along with Chapman students and alums, and Public Safety Lieutenant Lionel Luna.

“People are still talking about it,” Raubolt says. “People are coming up to me on campus with ideas for next year.”

And there will definitely be a next year. Everyone is excited about the revival of such a significant community event, and the City Council has already approved next year’s parade to take place May 2.

(Photo: Kids from the Youth Centers of Orange accompanied the award-winning Chapman University float in the city’s May Day Parade on May 4.)