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April 27, 2010

DWU to blanket city for Service Day

Jennifer Jungwirth • The Daily Republic

Pam Boline, associate professor of human services at Dakota Wesleyan University, has a lifelong love for and commitment to service and volunteerism.

Boline, who began working with the university in 1980, has spearheaded a multitude of service projects throughout the years, including food drives, winter clothing drives, school-supply collections and volunteering at the Love Feast.

“Volunteerism is something that’s always been important to me. I’ve always been very passionate about it,” she said.

Boline is one of about 340 volunteers who will take part today in DWU’s first Service Day — an event planned in conjunction with the university’s 125th anniversary celebration. Today, in fact, is the 125th anniversary of Dakota Wesleyan’s charter day.

About 250 students, 25 faculty and 65 staff members will take part in today’s event, which includes service projects such as roadside litter clean-up, assistance to local service organizations and maintenance at local parks. Donning blue Tshirts, the volunteers will blanket the city in an intense two-hour effort from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Boline will lead a team of 12 to 15 volunteers at the Mitchell Area Safehouse, where they will paint, organize and move furniture for the organization.

Boline said the large number of volunteers should make a big impact.

“What one person would do alone would be a drop in the bucket. But if you can get this many people together doing this kind of work, you can have a major impact. It’s exciting to be a part of that,” she said.

DWU junior history education major Shannon Mack is one of the volunteers. Mack will work with the Future Teacher’s Organization at Longfellow Elementary today. The group of students will help the teachers and staff at the school pack and move into their new location.

“It seems like a cool idea to have so many people volunteering all at once, especially at the elementary school,” Mack said. “They do a lot for us elementary education students, like let us come into their classrooms. It’s nice to give back to them.”

Although the Service Day benefits Mitchell, it’s also a chance for students, staff and faculty to bond.

“It’s pulling us all together,” said Diana Goldammer, DWU director of student life. “On campus we all have our roles and routines, but out in the parks we will see each other as part of something bigger than DWU — the community of Mitchell.”

All of the projects are significant to the community, but for Goldammer, seeing the newly bagged trash that no longer litters the city will be a great accomplishment.

“It’s important to us that we show Mitchell how proud we are of being a part of this community, and take this opportunity to give back. Back when DWU was charted 125 years ago, it was the community who stepped up and did what it took to get the university going,” she said. “We are still grateful for that community support.”

Boline said she hopes that DWU volunteers will take away from Service Day the desire to do more good work for not just the community, but the world.

“We have a social responsibility for the quality of life in the community, and also the world-wide community. First improving the quality of life in our community can have a ripple effect.”

Boline said Service Day could turn into a school tradition.

“It could be a part of that overall experience that students have when they come to Dakota Wesleyan. Also it could be something we could do more visibly to show we are part of this community and want to make it a better community,” she said.

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Last updated: 4/29/10