Honors students complete Pillowcase Project to help local shelters

March 10, 2014

A community service project by the Honors College Student Council at UW-Stout will help residents of two local shelters sleep a little easier.

Students in the council, part of the Honors College, recently made and donated 65 pillowcases to Bridge to Hope and Stepping Stones of Dunn County, both located in Menomonie.

The Pillowcase Project began after students read about the Million Pillowcase Project, a national effort to make pillowcases and brighten the lives of others by donating them to a local charity.

Pillowcase project volunteers. See caption below story.Council President Kori Klaustermeier, of Boyceville, and members Claire Cink, of Owatonna, Minn.; Megan Hondl, of Lakeville, Minn.; Abby Knott, of South St. Paul; and Cassie Mishler, of Deerbrook, organized the effort, including seeking donations of fabric and finding sewing machines to use. The project was led by Joy Bergstrand, Honors College associate.

About 20 students made the pillowcases during two marathon sewing sessions. They cut the fabric, sewed the pillowcases and pressed them.

"Honors students with no previous sewing experience were very willing to learn the skills needed for this worthwhile project. The atmosphere was filled with good music, great snacks and, even better, a sense of accomplishment," Bergstrand said.

Honors students also decided to augment the pillowcase donation. Students collected more than 200 books, some donated by the Menomonie Public library, to help children make the transition to staying in a shelter.

The Honors College Student Council is a new student-led organization.

"Although it has been in existence for less than a year, Honors Student Council members have been very active in coordinating activities that enhance the college experience of honors students," Bergstrand said.

The UW-Stout honors program started in 1994 and was elevated in 2012 to college status, making it the second Honors College in the UW System. Last fall, the program boasted more than 450 students.

Students attending UW-Stout are invited to join the Honors College according to ACT score, class rank or high school grade-point average. Students who do not meet the criteria may still apply.Honors College requirements include completing a combination of honors courses, study abroad experiences or independent study projects and co-curricular enhancement events.Students also must attend a colloquium book discussion forum every semester.

Donations for the Pillowcase Project came from Fleet Farm, the Menomonie Public Library and Wal-Mart.

For more information, contact Honors College Director Lopa Basu

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Photo caption

UW-Stout Honors College students celebrate finishing the first of 65 pillowcases made for donation to the local shelters. Front row, from left, Cassie Mishler, Kori Klaustermeier and Ellen Pedersen. Back row, from left, Amanda Blough, Megan Hondl, Abby Knott, Claire Cink and Josh Laskowski.