Dec 042011
Authors: Carrie Mobley

Not many programs can come back into existence after being out of commission, but CSU Serves has proven that it has what it takes to stay on campus.

The community service project returned to campus this year after having trouble finding enough volunteers to participate in previous years.

“We struggled in the past getting students to participate in the program,” said Brett Rundle, the program’s coordinator in the Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE) office. “…So when we brought CSU Serves back, we wanted to have an incentive that would encourage students to get involved and volunteer.”

That incentive involves paying each participating club or organization per person who works.

“Because our office is student fee-funded,” Rundle said, “we thought that providing a financial incentive to registered student organizations would be a great way to redirect these student fees back to students that need the funding.”

The program works with the United Way’s 211 program to match CSU student volunteers with projects in the community working directly with local residents in need. Programs can be hosted at an organization or an individual’s house, similar to CSUnity.

In addition to this semester, there will be five Service Saturdays in the spring, running from February to April.

“We helped clean up the river area around the Environmental Learning Center off of Drake Road,” said Kaylen Higgins, managing director of the Young Producers Organization. “We also made a contest out of the cleaning: whoever found the most bizarre objects in or around the river won. My group won with the unearthing of an enormous traffic cone from under the water. ”

Registered organizations also found that they could be placed with an organization or person in need who could cater to their specific abilities.

“The first Saturday we participated, we were paired with Arc Thrift store—mainly because we could bring our children—and we helped sort clothes,” said Amber Altwine-Gomez, a member of the Student Parent Group. “The second time we participated, we did yard work for a woman who lives in Fort Collins.”

With about 22 registered organizations signed up to volunteer this semester, the program is turning out to be more successful than ever, having redistributed about $1,200 back to organizations.

Although the program did provide them with funding, many groups found that what they received most from the CSU Serves program wasn’t just monetary gain, but something much more important.

“What we loved most about the program was getting in contact with the community and also getting to know each other better because of this opportunity,” Altwine-Gomez said, “It really made our group as a whole stronger.”

_Collegian writer Carrie Mobley can be reached at _

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