Apr 042004
Authors: Erin Skarda

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.

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