Despite the rain, almost 700 students gathered at the Lory
Student Center Saturday morning to participate in the seventh
annual CSUnity spring event.
This event, put on by the Office for Service Leaning and
Volunteer Programs, gave students, faculty and staff the
opportunity to work with non-profit agencies to give back to the
“The mission of CSUnity is to build a relationship with the
community,” said Jessica Goldberger, co-coordinator for special
events at the SLVP.
Students signed up prior to the event and were placed into
groups to be sent to various agencies, nursing homes and
neighborhoods. Some of the agencies that participated in the event
were the Environmental Learning Center, Respite Care, Pow Wow, the
Alpha Resource Pregnancy Center and the Colorado Division of
Jackie Polis, a senior art major, said she had a really good
experience with her project.
“We worked with Respite Care, which provides relief to families
of children with disabilities. It gives time for the parents to
have a break,” Polis said. “Working with them for a day was
enlightening. I got to see what that world would be like.”
Goldberger, a junior environmental health major, said while
three or four projects had to be cancelled because of the rain,
overall, the day went by smoothly.
“We were a lot more organized this year,” Goldberger said. “Last
year we had over 700 people but it was a lot harder. People just
showed up. This year we stressed quality projects.”
The Greek Life system also contributed to this project. Jen
Johnson, who works as a community liaison between Fort Collins and
CSU, set up the projects for the Greek students.
“The Greek students’ project involves working in neighborhoods,”
Johnson said. “Through the Neighborhood Resource Office there is
the neighborhood helper program in which one student will help one
person with the house. Some will also be doing park or neighborhood
cleanups and egg hunts.”
Johnson, a graduate student seeking her master’s in Student
Affairs in Higher Education, said while this is her first year
working with CSUnity, she was happy about the outcome.
“This is really terrific. More students signed up to volunteer
than there were projects,” Johnson said. “There’s flexibility with
the weather since some people aren’t showing up.”
Shirl Portillos, an assistant director of Residence Life, said
that she was impressed by the Greek Life involvement and overall
turn out of the event.
“Every year the Greeks get more and more involved,” Portillos
said. “The event has definitely grown. It started with a couple
hundred people and gets bigger and bigger.”
Portillos, who has worked with CSUnity for three or four years,
said Residence Life donated food and prizes for the raffle,
including DVDs, videos, posters and gift certificates.
The students returned from their projects around 2 p.m. to live
music, food and prizes.
Ian Jobe, a junior speech communication major, had a good
experience at Bluegrass Health Care. He helped clean up around the
building, clean tables and do maintenance work.
“It made me feel bad I don’t do more,” Jobe said.
Polis said she felt good about volunteering.
“I think it’s great. I feel spending the time is worthwhile,”
she said. “I feel almost selfish how much I enjoy it.”
Many agreed the event was a success. With the project’s
possibilities expanding next year, Goldberger said it might have to
become a two-day event.
“It would be great to grow but there will be restriction on how
big it can get,” Goldberger said. “We called every non-profit
agency and nursing home in the city. Some couldn’t accommodate but
we called everywhere. We might have to make it two events next
The volunteers know that they helped make a difference.
“There’s a tremendous amount of person power,” Johnson said.
“Think 700 people, four hours each; that’s a lot of time.”
Goldberger said she hopes community service like this will help
the neighborhoods’ opinion of CSU students.
“I hope to make the image that CSU students care about the
neighborhoods they live in,” Goldberger said.