Nineteen USD students spent the day between the Civic Council, the Senior Citizens Center, and Sharing the Dream in Guatemala.
Six students served at the Civic Council, a thrift store that donates its profits to various organizations throughout Vermillion, where they organized store items, washed donated dishes and cleaned. The students learned about the mission of the Civic Council from store manager June Tripp.
Students who participated included Larissa Petree of Sioux Falls, Angie Andal of Volin, Kristin Plueger of Sergeant Bluffs, IA, Leah Pederson of Alta, IA, and Tyler Harms of Belle Fourche.
Eight students volunteered at the Senior Citizens Center, an organization which provides daily activities and services for senior citizens in Vermillion, such as Meals on Wheels, computer classes and afternoon coffee. The students installed computer equipment in the computer lab, helped with cleaning and organized donations to the Civic Council.
Crystal McGuire, director of the center, said the student volunteers are important because the tasks completed would have been difficult for many seniors and were those the staff does not normally have time to do.
Some of the students volunteered as part of a service-learning effort in global health, an interdisciplinary theme in USD's Interdisciplinary Education and Action ("IdEA") program.
"I found the whole entity and the description of the seniors as a whole to be quite interesting. From a global health perspective, I realized that mental health plays as much of a role in health as physical health does," said David Cronin, a participating student from Holstein, IA.
Other participants included Amanda Adams of Ethan, Betsy Kasuske of Milbank, Casie McFarlane of Sioux Falls, Danielle Ward of Jackson, MN, Ashley Johnson of Sioux Falls, Brittney Sutton of Aberdeen, and Wyatt Brown of Elk Point.
Five students also volunteered at Sharing the Dream in Guatemala, a store that promotes fair trade through supporting cooperatives and small businesses in Guatemala. The students cleaned and organized items and learned about the plight of the working class in Guatemala from store director Dianne Nesselhuf. Students participating were Katherine Ludens of Sioux Falls, Laura Guenther of Yankton, Kelly Brennan of Sioux Falls, Rachelle Froehlich of Beresford, and Larissa Petree of Sioux Falls.
Matt Ernst, a federal volunteer with Americorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) in the Student Action Office said there is great value in service learning and the outcomes for students are positive.
"The purpose of this event was to give USD students the opportunity to connect more with the Vermillion community and to meet community needs. My hope is that by witnessing the energy and dedication of the employees and volunteers of these organizations, the students will be inspired and instilled with the same sense of community spirit and civic engagement. I also hope this event allowed students to further learn about health and economic issues, both locally and globally," Ernst said. ����������
The SAO is supported by USD and a grant from Learn and Serve America through the Midwest Consortium for Service-Learning in Higher Education and the Corporation for National & Community Service.