1200 T-Birds in Simultaneous Service this Saturday
August 18, 2008
With fall classes drawing near, Southern Utah University’s campus is abuzz with activity. While most of that involves unloading trunks of clean clothes and hitting the bookstore when its lines are shortest, this Saturday, SUU’s incoming freshmen will set aside the campus maps and class schedules and join together in their first official activity as Thunderbirds in a day of service across Iron County.
The event, motivated by a desire to help students feel they are part of something bigger than just campus, will take place from 9-11 a.m. across the community. This 1200-student service project is one of the largest in SUU’s history.
According to Coordinator of SUU's Service & Learning Center Pam Branin, the orchestration of this many people within one project is quite an undertaking. To both ensure maximum efficiency and a far-reaching impact, students will be split into smaller groups, each group with a different service project-Branin anticipates these service groups will spread as far north as Parowan and as far south as Kolob Canyon.
Among other things, students will play soccer with Special Olympics athletes and their families, clean and repair donated costumes for Cedar City, help plant and prune trees at the Meek Pioneer Farmstead, assemble literacy packets for Great Beginnings Literacy program, make blankets for Canyon Creek Women's Crisis Center, and help as-needed at the Children's Justice Center, Family Support Center, Cedar Animal Rescue, several local elementary schools.
According to Branin, “In addition to helping develop a sense of community, service-learning events such as this help provide a well-rounded education that includes out-of-classroom experiences, especially those that help students understand the value of civic engagement.” As part of the University’s overall mission statement, University leaders see such civic engagement as a crucial element of the well-rounded student experience.
The event is sponsored by SUU's Service & Learning Center, the First Year Seminar Program, University Orientation, and the Vice President of Student Services.
All 1200 students will first gather on SUU’s campus, in the parking lot east of the J.L. Sorenson Physical Education Building at 9 a.m. The various groups will then take buses to their assigned service location, where they will remain until 11 a.m. All SUU service participants will be dressed in red; look for them in a community near you. In the meantime, a complete listing of projects and locations is available upon request.