Entering its 12th year, CSUnity, a one-day service event sponsored by the university, works to dispel the myth that all college students do is drink beer. And thousands of CSU students have volunteered their time to show the community students care.
“As college students, we have a reputation that we’re self-involved, apathetic, that we only care about the weekend,” said Jake Blumberg, a spokesperson for the school’s Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement. “In reality, that’s not true. CSU students are doing great things.”
Students involved in CSUnity this year will meet on April 12 to enjoy breakfast as the leaders of the event present a brief orientation to their project. From there, each group is assigned a project and is sent out to the site where they will be volunteering.
After a day of hard work, they return to campus at 4 p.m., gathering for one more discussion about service before heading home.
Camille Howells, the volunteer and community programs coordinator for CSUnity, said she has watched the program grow since she began work at SLiCE.
Strong student initiative from the SLiCE office brought life to CSUnity, and the program has now grown into a collaborative effort with both the alumni of CSU and Greek Life on campus, Howell said.
Projects range from park clean-ups, work at animal sanctuaries and food banks, the Northern Colorado AIDS Project and special needs events, with numerous public and private organizations allowing students a chance to volunteer.
CSUnity also offers a unique opportunity in volunteer work: working with the elderly or disabled in Fort Collins to help them with things like yard work and manual labor that normally wouldn’t be possible for them.
Dan Sheehan, the CSUnity special events coordinator, has spent the past few months recruiting agencies and community members for the event and advertising around campus to attract student attention.
“We advertise that we’ll do all the projects that come our way,” Sheehan said. “Now it’s up to us to get the word out to the students.”
Howells expects 1,500 students to participate this year, citing 1,100 students already signed up and 120 projects registered for the event.
The alumni connection has also grown in numbers this year, Howells said, as volunteers from Austin, Texas; Fortworth, Texas; Dallas, Texas; Denver and Washington D.C. signed up for a day of volunteer work in their area.
To those who volunteer, CSUnity is a day of service and social interaction.
“Service is a personal thing, a motivation to help,” Blumberg said. “CSUnity is a great way to change our reputation as college students and change the lives of those we’re helping.
“For me, the most rewarding part of service is that smile at the end of the day.”
Staff writer Alexandra Sieh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.