tudents took to the streets across Fort Collins Saturday, giving help wherever it was needed as part of CSUnity, the campus-wide volunteering project that placed students with non-profit organizations to help with spring cleaning efforts, including painting and yard work.
The planning committee was proud to have 2,000 students register to volunteer this year, surpassing the committee’s initial estimate of 1,700.
Camille Howells, volunteer program coordinator for Student Leadership, Involvement and Civic Engagement said that the purpose of CSUnity is to educate students on why it is significant to get involved.
“We hope that students know that what they’re doing matters,” Howells said. “Their service and kindness is appreciated by the community and SLiCE.”
A 12-year-long tradition on campus, CSUnity is involved with several Fort Collins non-profit organizations, including the Food Bank for Larimer County, Trees, Water, People, The Open Door Mission, American Diabetes Association and the Northern Colorado AIDS Program.
Student organizations, Greeks and individual students formed groups and took off to their assigned sites in Larimer County.
One of the groups representing the Associated Students of CSU, led by Andy Shank, a senior electrical engineering major, was assigned to perform yard work for resident Mary Gonzales.
Gonzales, a senior member of the community suffering from arthritis, has been helped by students for the past three years.
Her niece, Teresa Rodriguez, a retired English teacher visiting from Hawaii, helped the four student volunteers with the yard work to make their work easier and to get her cardio done.
“It’s nice for the students to help these little people,” Rodriguez said. “In my neighborhood in Hawaii, everybody in the community helps each other and calls one another auntie and uncle, and when they see an auntie cleaning the yard, they come and help.”
The four volunteers raked leaves, trimmed the shrubs and took pictures with their hosts, all in an effort to represent ASCSU and the students.
“The service projects are directly impacting students” Shank said. “What’s good for Fort Collins is good for the people in it.”
A special request from Mrs. Gonzales was for the students to dig a grave for her companion of the past 15 years: her parrot, Boca Loca, who died of a heart attack late last week.
While some projects were geared toward individual residencies, other groups worked with non-profit organizations. Fraternity groups filled sandbags for the City of Fort Collins flood protection, the Pre-occupational Therapy Group cleaned up Rolland Moore Park, the Ram Leadership Team worked with the Food Bank and Allison Hall team got down and dirty with stable work.
Volunteers agreed that CSUnity was a well-organized effort, and SLiCE did a good job in serving both the student population and the community.
Katie McLaughlin, a senior in political science, said she would like to see CSUnity try to expand its focus.
“I feel we could do more with the parks and restoring old buildings and save the city some money to use for something else” McLaughlin said.
Last weekend, through their collaborative effects, students took advantage of the opportunity to serve the community and show their appreciation.
“We’re not here just for school and to hang out socially,” said Luke Censula, junior biology major. “We’re also here to help out.”
Staff writer Lucia Papureanu can be reached at email@example.com.