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Students Reach Out to the Community This Holiday Season
By Christine Duellman
UW-RF News Bureau
NOV. 18, 2004--Student volunteers at UW-River Falls are working hard to
bring cheer to those less fortunate this holiday season.
There are currently 141 active student organizations on campus and nearly
all of them have specific service missions that vary from philanthropy,
clothing or food drives, cleanups, bake sales, bloodmobiles and dance
marathons. Most organizations donate money to children's hospitals, food
banks and shelters.
"I believe young adults in college have always had a social conscience,"
said Roger Ballou, the dean for student development and campus diversity.
"They see a vast world in front of them, one with many challenges.
Going out and getting involved brings hem closer to workable solutions."
One visible example is the annual sleep-out organized by an organization
called Campus and Community Fighting Hunger and Homelessness. This is
the fifth year students have slept outside of the Hagestad Student Center
in November with hopes of raising some $2,000. All proceeds go to charity
organizations geared towards hunger and homelessness. In addition to the
annual sleep-out, this organization works year round to raise money, clean
up the community, and collect food for food drives.
"I think it's important to volunteer simply because I feel every
person, especially when they reach an adult age, has a responsibility
as a citizen to help out people in need," said Stephanie McLaughlin,
campus chair of Campus and Community Fighting Hunger and Homelessness.
Other students are spending their free time this holiday season wrapping
shoe boxes filled with new toys and hygiene and school supplies. This
group, Operation Christmas Child, sends the boxes to children all over
the world who wouldn't otherwise receive a gift this holiday season.
Last year the Multicultural Student Organization and student Micaela Rodriguez
initiated Operation Christmas Child on the campus of UW-RF. They collaborated
with other organizations on campus and the local community and sent out
more than 400 boxes to children all over the world.
"Operation Christmas Child is important," said Linda Alverez,
campus advisor for Operation Christmas Child. "One of our Hmong students,
a recent UW-RF graduate, spend part of his childhood in a resettlement
camp in Thailand and received one of these boxes. All he remembers is
that some people on the other side of the world cared enough to give him
a present. It was the first present he ever received."
Some students at UW-RF are choosing to make a difference by participating
in a day of dancing. Dance Marathon is an annual event held to raise money
for Gillette Children’s Hospital.
This year Dance Marathon will be coordinated by a new campus organization
called Smiles 4 Kids. The organization has more than 240 members and is
currently the largest student organization on campus. Its goal is to raise
"Smiles 4 Kids and Dance Marathon gets college students involved
in making a difference in other peoples lives," said Jeremy Kalal,
coordinator for Dance Marathon and president of Smiles 4 Kids.
During the event held in the Robert P. Knowles Physical Education and
Recreation Center, dance teams stay on their feet for eight hours to show
their support for the cause. In addition, families from Gillette Children’s
Hospital give personal testimonials throughout the event, and people involved
see the results of their hard work first-hand, said Kalal.
Students and UW-RF campus organizations will continue to work on volunteer
programs all year. Many are asking for more community help and campus
participation. For example, the American Red Cross Bloodmobile is a frequent
campus visitor and every Thursday the campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity
meets in the International Room of the Hagestad Student Center to plan
"Colleges and universities are all about a better future," said
Ballou. "A better service is the result of service minded and socially
minded people. Colleges and universities worth their salt need to motivate
students to become active in their campus and community life. It is critical
to a better tomorrow."
Tuesday, 22-Jun-2010 16:21:18 Central Daylight Time