UW-Stout News Story

Students pitch in to help local senior citizens, children

November 7, 2013

What do University of Wisconsin-Stout students typically do on a Thursday in October?

On advisement day, Thursday, Oct. 24, when classes were replaced with academic and program adviser meetings, more than 100 students found time in their schedules to help their community neighbors with current, upcoming and ongoing projects.

"Students at UW-Stout are volunteering every day, mostly because they want to help," said Mary McManus, assistant director of the Memorial Student Center.

Students finish raking a local resident's yard.For information about how and where to volunteer in Menomonie and Dunn County, students and the public are encouraged to go to the Volunteer Here! website.

"There are many volunteer opportunities open for students and for members of the community," McManus said.

Fall Yard Clean-up

During the day Oct. 24, 83 members of the Greek social organizations on campus and eight from Lutheran Campus Ministry participated in Fall Yard Clean-up activities for local senior citizens. A total of 14 yards were raked, along with two properties used by the ARC of Dunn County.

More than 90 students participated.Students also went to Evergreen Cemetery in Menomonie to pick up twigs and branches.

On Sunday, Oct. 27, 11 students from North Hall volunteered to rake four more yards in the community, and five Ally Initiatives staff members drove to all sites to be sure bags of leaves were at the curb in time for city pick-up.

The raking event was coordinated by senior Fitzie Heimdahl, of Marine on St. Croix, Minn., with recruitment assistance from Alpha Phi member Measha Veith, of Eau Claire, and hall resident assistant Seth Karl, of Stratford.

Another 27 students signed up to rake again Nov. 9-10.

Schoolchildren colored a Food Day banner.Food Day

At lunchtime Thursday, Oct. 24, students participated in Food Day at three local elementary schools. As a way to encourage appreciation of fresh and different foods through the Farm to School program, UW-Stout AmeriCorps members Kara Helget and Joe Kalscheuer led seven students in distributing "Be Bright – Eat Right!" stickers to all participating youth.

Children in the schools wrote messages on banners promoting healthy eating. The effort was planned with Michelle Kloser, director of food services for the Menomonie school district, and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the sponsor of AmeriCorps Farm to School at UW-Stout.

Earlier in the week Kalscheur and fellow students participated in Family Fun Night to encourage participation in the three Fit for Families activities coming up in November.

Christmas for Kids

The Christmas for Kids kick-off meeting was held at the United Way of Dunn County offices. Known on campus as the Holiday Giving Tree Project, it partially depends on the volunteer efforts of students such as Lauren Oquist to provide gifts for needy local children.

Oquist, of the Alpha Phi Omega national service fraternity, attended the meeting and came away excited to get started. "It's interesting to see what really goes on behind the scenes and all the work it takes to pull this event together," said Oquist, of Minneapolis.

Diane Simon, executive director of the United Way, estimates that more than 1,200 children will be on the list this year in Dunn County, excluding the Boyceville school district, which is working with WESTCAP on a similar event.

Some of the Fall Yard Clean-up crew.

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