SUU Encourages Students to 'Get a Life'August 24, 2009
With a little help from Winston Churchill, Southern Utah University is encouraging its incoming freshmen to get a life.
And according to the late British Prime Minister, the only way to do that is through service. He said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” It is with this inspiration that SUU’s Student Services and Service and Learning Center celebrated the University’s second annual Service Saturday this weekend.
Saturday morning, 1520 students, clad in bright red tees that boldly stated their directive to, “get a Life,” flooded the local and surrounding communities in service.
Beyond giving SUU’s newest students a fresh take on the kind of well-rounded educational experience the University affords its students – with myriad possibilities for community and professional engagement in addition to classes and homework – in just its second year, Service Saturday has already proven a boon to the region’s non-profit and community organizations who oftentimes lack sufficient manpower to accomplish large-scale projects.
This year’s projects were spread across Cedar City, Enoch and as far south as Kanarraville, and students’ assigned tasks varied, with some students assembling literacy packets or tying quilts while others washed windows and cars or cleaned roadways and fields.
According to Celesta Lyman, who oversaw 400 students who formed a human chain to transport 620 large cinder blocks from a back lot on the Enoch City Recreation Complex to the designated location for a block wall and public restroom facility that will be built, “SUU’s students accomplished much more than I had hoped, and they did so with smiles and positive attitudes.”
Lyman explained that several times, she had offered the students a break from the heavy lifting, only for the students to respond that they thought they could move one more pallet before stopping. She said, “The students voluntarily went the extra mile and they didn’t want to stop until their work was done. They were easy to work with and all seemed to enjoy being there – some were even singing as they worked.”
She added, “I would gladly welcome their help as we complete the new recreation complex anytime.”
And though it may not be surprising that the more than 20 organizations that benefited from Saturday’s efforts were happy to participate in Service Saturday, Pam Branin, coordinator of SUU’s Service and Learning Center, also notes that this Saturday’s activity was a positive experience for the students as well.
She stated, “The feedback we have thus far received from students who participated was all centered around a similar idea that, though they initially balked at the idea of having to do service as part of their new student orientation, students came away from the event feeling better about themselves, more confident in their new surroundings, and grateful for the opportunity to meet fellow classmates and learn more about the local community through this project.”
With rave reviews all around, it seems this untraditional welcome to SUU’s campus is one that will be continued with incoming freshmen for years to come.