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Students participate in Fall Semester Service Day

Posted by Argie Manolis, coordinator, Office of Community Engagement on Thursday, Sep. 30, 2010

Sixty-seven UMM students participated in the Fall Semester Service Day on September 18.

“We were happy with the turn out, especially since so many students were off campus for athletics and involved in other activities on the same day,” said Michelle Schamp, assistant coordinator of community engagement.

The students gathered for brunch at the Dining Hall to talk about their projects and learn about the organizations where they would be serving and the impacts of those organizations on the community. Student facilitators were trained to lead these discussions with their peers.

After brunch, five small groups of students helped out locally with sheetrocking at the Habitat House, painting the Morris Theatre Cooperative, sorting donations at Salvation Army, decorating and delivering bags of fruit at Grandview Apartments and West Wind Village, and selling paper cranes and postcards at Willie’s to support the Prairie Renaissance Cultural Alliance’s children’s arts programming.

Two groups conducted regional service projects outside of the city, helping with the harvest at Prairie Horizons Farm, a local, sustainable farm that contributes to the Morris Farmers Market, and preparing the Someplace Safe Thrift Shop in Alexandria for its grand opening by pulling up old flooring.

“This is the first time we have offered a fall service day with pre and post-service reflections and opportunities for students to really understand the agencies they’re serving and the community as a whole,” said Argie Manolis, coordinator of the Office of Community Engagement. “We also increased the number of hours for the service portion of the day and the day as a whole. We wanted to give students more preparation and more time to reflect—but we also wanted to ask for a bigger commitment from them. I think it was a successful first attempt.”

One last group stayed close to home and cooked a celebratory meal for all the volunteers—an effort to teach some recipe planning and cooking skills to students who will be involved in preparing this semester’s community meals.

“We had a lot of fun selling the cranes,” said Kali Dale, first-year student who participated in the PRCA project. “We sold more than we expected, and we were happy to see how many people want to support the arts in our community.”

“I got to pick a type of berry I’d never even heard of,” said Anne Meyers-Welsch, a sophomore who participated in the farm project. “I have berry stains on my clothes from head to toe, but I had a great time!”

Enjoy the photos.