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May 2, 2012

More than 500 participate in DWU’s third annual Service Day

More than 500 DWU students, staff and faculty volunteered at more than 20 project sites in Mitchell on Tuesday during DWU's third annual Service Day.

MITCHELL — After moving, excavating or disposing of dinosaurs, cowboy boots, snakes and farm equipment – the third annual Dakota Wesleyan Service Day went off without a hitch.

Wait. They might have found one of those too.

DWU men’s basketball player Jalen Voss pulls garbage out of the water near the Sportsman’s Club at Lake Mitchell Tuesday during DWU’s Service Day.

More than 500 students, faculty and staff of DWU took part in the college’s third Service Day Tuesday, May 1 – a campus-wide effort at city-wide community service. This year, Service Day provided at least 1,000 hours of volunteering.

Service is a 127-year-old tradition at Dakota Wesleyan University.

“Since its founding in 1885, Dakota Wesleyan University has embraced its rich tradition of service,” said Amy Novak, campus provost. “Service Day is one of the many ways we try to give back and share with the community our thankfulness for their continued support of the university. It’s tremendously heartwarming to see the excitement generated by students, faculty and staff when we all come together as a university community to share our time and talents with those in need.”

Clubs, organizations, athletic teams and individuals signed up and spread out over the city doing volunteer work at the Abbott House, Pepsi-Cola Theatre for the Performing Arts, First United Methodist Church, Family Christian Center, Carnegie Resource Center, Dakota Discovery Museum, Cadwell Dog Park, Mitchell Area Safehouse, Pepsi Soccer Complex, Avera Queen of Peace Hospital, Wesley Acres, Avera Brady Health and Rehab, and Mitchell schools – including L.B. Williams, Longfellow, Gertie Belle Rogers, Mitchell Middle and Mitchell High School.

Students also painted the bases of the street lamp posts along Rowley and Lawler Streets and picked up trash at Dry Run Creek and around Lake Mitchell.

Though, “digging” for trash might be a more appropriate term for Dry Run Creek, where a large group of students found everything from cowboy boots to tires to several pieces of the front end of an old car.

Paige VandenMeerendonk, DWU volleyball player, helps paint at the Family Christian Center in Mitchell Tuesday during DWU’s Service Day.

The archeological finds continued. Countless bottles, broken and whole, as well what looked like some broken tools and a plastic dinosaur were uncovered. With every “find” came a loud hoot and a holler, as the clean-up became almost a competition.

Other students split up and did work on campus in the Hughes Science Hall and McGovern Library, and nursing students in Huron, along with faculty and staff, also provided a service with spring clean-up on the Huron Community Campus on April 23.

“The number of volunteers we get every year is outstanding and the impact is immeasurable,” said Diana Goldammer, one of the coordinators of Service Day. “We start the day with a short kick-off and the students are the ones getting each other psyched to go. They don’t have to be here, but they show up and they work and they have a good time and then we all have lunch together. It’s not a bad way to spend a beautiful day like today.”

In 2010, in recognition of the college’s 125th anniversary, “Service Day” was created out of Reading Day – a day with no classes in preparation for finals week. Service Day is in part a thank you to the community that has supported the college for more than a century, and also a testament to the college’s motto: sacrifice or service.

DWU boasts its commitment to service, but the university puts its money where its mouth is. In this academic year, groups or individuals have gone on mission trips to Africa and New Orleans; students traveled to Belize to learn about world hunger and another group will travel again to Africa in May to learn about health services, hunger and third-world economics – an experience that has spawned research projects into helping those people develop small businesses like rabbit farming; and there have been countless campus-wide drives to raise food, goods, clothes, even diapers, for local nonprofits and organizations.

“We do a lot behind the scenes,” Goldammer said. “It’s nice that Service Day is a time when the community gets to see us in action.”

More than 500 DWU students, staff and faculty volunteered doing community service in Mitchell on Tuesday during DWU’s third annual Service Day. Groups worked at more than 20 sites, including picking up trash at Dry Run Creek.

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