U students help raise funds for senior center

U students help raise funds for senior center
Nineteen students from The University of South Dakota pitched in to help the Vermillion Senior Citizens Center raise money for some of the organization's most vital local programs, including Meals on Wheels.

This unique partnership was the result of coordinating efforts between the U's Student Action Office and Crystal McGuire, director of the Vermillion Senior Citizens Center. McGuire helped develop the fund-raiser project utilizing students from the U's Interdisciplinary Education & Action (IdEA) Arts and Identity: Developing Cultural Competency course to market and plan the event.

The theme for the evening was a "Mardi Gras" celebration as students from the U, who used the fund raiser as a course-embedded, service-learning project, helped decorate the Senior Citizens Center for the event. They also served dinner and organized games for the guests.

"The Senior Citizens Center is a different culture compared with campus culture and it may be perceived as a negative stereotype to some," stated Katherine Vornbrock, an anthropology major from Le Mars, IA, "but once you really get to know them and get to work with them it's a really positive experience."

Charlotte Guyette, associate professor of theatre and instructor for IdEA, says the experience of working together is invaluable for students, who learn the value of community service through projects like this. "I think it's great that the class works as a unit because they get to know each other better," Guyette added.

McGuire explained that more than 90 percent of the Vermillion Senior Citizens Center funding comes from donations and other activities, including events like the Mardi Gras fund raiser. Even though this was the first time the senior center worked with a class on a project of this magnitude, McGuire is hoping that the partnership with the U continues for years to come.

"On the whole it was a wonderful group and Charlotte Guyette was very helpful," McGuire noted. "I think that the seniors really enjoyed it."

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