From reading to children at the local library to coordinating the Special Olympics and even cleaning debris from a hillside, Southern Utah University has cultivated amongst its students a spirit and culture of community service, which has led students completing more than 190,000 service hours between July 2012 and June 2013.
74 percent increase from the pervious year, students are continuing to increase their service efforts for class and group projects because of the great initiative by campus and community leaders and service advocates.
Of this Earl Mulderink, Community Engagement Center director said, “I continue to marvel at what a remarkable place this is to have such a strong campus culture of service. Having students take part in service truly benefits themselves and also our community. Everybody wins.”
In a formal effort to recognize those leaders and service advocates on campus and in the community, the Community Engagement Center sponsored a thank you reception and recognition event on Wednesday, April 9.
Students and service leaders finally had a chance to sit and take a break from the many hours they dedicate to improving campus and Cedar City.
Bitsy McClain, president of the Cedar Animal Rescue, has students come to the animal center twice a month to give much needed love to the animals and also care to the grounds.
McClain said of the service those SUU students give, “I know they are incredibly busy with school work, but it is nice to see those students come off of campus and play for an hour or two with animals that need a lot of love. It really makes a difference.”
Pam Branin, associate director of the Community Engagement Center, said of the purpose of promoting student service, “I have seen students save all their money, forfeiting healthy meals in the process, to be able to attend service activities in another country or state. In the whole process they get dirty, they get blisters, but they also get a well-rounded education. We have amazing students at SUU.”
Those recognized at the event was Shobha Gurung, assistant professor of sociology, as the Community Engaged Scholar; Reece Summers, director of the Southern Utah Museum of Art, as the Community Engaged Staff Member; the Pacesetters students organization as the Community Engaged Student; Scott and Kourtney Jolley as the Community Engaged Alum; and Ray Whittier, principal of North Elementary, as the Committed Community Partner.