Last Updated: December 21, 2017, 3:54 pm

Students volunteer time to help connect DSU with community


Moving at a pace even Drake would envy, the Dixie State University Student Association’s service efforts went from zero to 50,000 really quick.

Almost 300 volunteers helped package 50,000 bean-and-rice meals in three hours at the Campus to Community event Dec. 1, said August Barlow, DSUSA community engagement coordinator and a sophomore biology major from Colorado City, Arizona. However, the event, held in the Gardner Center Ballroom, and its lofty numbers only hint at the potential of service opportunities at DSU, Barlow said.

“[Campus to Community] was huge … ,” he said. “We do it every semester, and we had so many people sign up that we’re thinking about going to 100,000 or even 400,000 meals.”

With the DSUSA’s new service department in its first semester, student government has bolstered students’ chances to positively contribute to both DSU and the St. George area with events like Campus to Community, said Megan Church, vice president of service and a senior integrated studies major from St. George. Students can expect a sundry slate of charity events next semester, she said.

Church said a large portion of the department’s projects this semester provided a learning experience for student leaders to understand what approaches to service prove most effective.

“We’re about learning here at DSUSA, so we learn about what events have worked and what events haven’t worked for next semester,” Church said. 

With those experiences in mind, DSUSA plans to focus on its largest successes from fall while adding entirely new projects, she said. Another Campus to Community event, community partner events and an alternative spring break all round out next semester’s service schedule.   

Barlow said a large portion of his job with student government deals with finding volunteer opportunities in the community — mainly for not-for-profit organizations seeking help. He said these volunteer options deal more with individual work and demand much effort but ultimately give participants much fulfillment.

A crucial project in particular, Barlow said, is volunteer work at the SwitchPoint Community Resource Center, 948 N. 1300 West.

“That is one of the greatest opportunities because you’re changing their lives so dramatically, and you can go to their facility and help in so many ways,” he said.

Compounded with another Campus to Community event and individual opportunities Barlow mentioned, Church said students should consider an alternative spring break trip to San Francisco.

Church said next semester’s alternative spring break will be DSU’s first; participants spend five days in San Francisco and devote that time to various projects. DSUSA will pick 15 applicants to join the trip, and although not all details are concrete yet, Church said it should be low-cost compared to other universities’ alternative spring breaks.

“It’s going to be an incredible time, and students can come in and talk to me to learn more about that,” she said.

Ultimately, Shaelie Knutson, DSUSA campus relations coordinator and a senior communication major from Preston, Idaho, said despite having busy schedules, students should take advantage of the service department’s offerings next semester.

“I would say to interested students that getting involved is the best way to help them grow and contribute positively to their community,” Knutson said.

Students interested in service opportunities can visit Church in the DSUSA offices on the Gardner Center’s second floor.