Fifth annual Service Day set for Tuesday

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Students, staff and faculty will descend upon the land once again, armed with trash bags and gardening rakes, for Dakota Wesleyan University’s annual Service Day on Tuesday, April 29.

This is the fifth year that Dakota Wesleyan has organized Service Day – a morning when the entire campus comes together to perform community service projects on campus and around the entire community, including the Huron campus. At least 575 participants are signed up for the day, with another 29 volunteering on the Huron campus on Monday.

“Dakota Wesleyan’s values of ‘learning, leadership, faith and service’ are not a mere tagline, it is something that we incorporate into every aspect of our students’ education,” said Amy Novak, DWU president. “Through our coursework, mission experiences and community service we encourage students, who will be our future leaders, to constantly reach outside of themselves and into their community. Service Day was created around the time of our 125th anniversary as a thank you to the Mitchell community for its support spanning more than a century; it was immediately clear to us that this was going to become an annual tradition and a reminder of the value of the many partnerships we share between the university and the community.”

The first Service Day included about 400 DWU students, staff and faculty. Despite weather, finals week and the temptation of sleeping in, participation has been admirable each year, said Diana Goldammer, director of student life and Service Day co-coordinator.

“We’ve had overcast, rainy weather for Service Day and still the students show up in their blue Service Day T-shirts, ready to take it on,” Goldammer said. “Our wrestling team has picked up trash around Lake Mitchell every single year, even on the year when we had a downpour. They do it because they want to, because it means something to them.”

In fact, the DWU wrestling team officially “adopted” Ohlman Street along Lake Mitchell.

DWU senior Amanda Hart, of Alexandria, has participated in Service Day all four years and as a member of the women’s basketball team, she has benefited by the public support of the community throughout her athletic career and sees Service Day as a way to say thank you.

“Service Day is a great opportunity for DWU students to come together and help to improve our community, which does so much for us as students and the university as a whole throughout the year,” Hart said. “It’s our chance to give back and show Mitchell that we’re willing to help them the way they have helped us. There are very few experiences I’ve had in my four years at DWU as rewarding as the Service Days I’ve been able to take part in.”

About 1,000 man hours are projected to be spent in town on Tuesday, with project sites at: The Carnegie Resource Center, First United Methodist Church, the Abbott House, Dakota Discovery Museum, Cadwell Park, Lakeview Golf Course, Wild Oak Golf Course, the Pepsi-Cola Soccer Complex, YWCA, Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village, Snack Pack Program, Area Community Theatre, Mitchell Area Safehouse, and trash pick-along Dry Run Creek, near Wal-mart and all around Lake Mitchell.

Students in the Arlene Gates Department of Nursing will split up into teams and work at Wesley Acres and Avera Brady Health and Rehab in Mitchell, and the education department will send groups to each of the elementary schools and middle school.

Following the volunteer projects, everyone will reconvene in the cafeteria and East Main Dining Room for an indoor picnic and video from last year’s Service Day.

The Tuesday before graduation was traditionally known as “Reading Day” before 2010, when Dakota Wesleyan established “Service Day” as a thank you to the community that has supported the university for more than a century.

*Photos of students were taken during 2013's Service Day, top photo: Mitchell Area Safehouse; bottom: Lake Mitchell

Categories: News
Dakota Wesleyan University was named to the 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
Dakota Wesleyan University is proudly affiliated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Members of any and all faiths are welcome and encouraged to experience an education based on learning, leadership, faith and service.
Dakota Wesleyan University has been honored as a College of Distinction through demonstration of excellence in these areas: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant communities and successful outcomes.
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