By revamping their programs and changing the infrastructure the USU Service Center plans to accomplish more than in previous years. New to this year is a fresh chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah, a new partnership with the USU Food Recovery Network and a spruced-up service center.
The Service Center has been broken down into five issue areas, each with its own coordinator to boost productivity and organization. Each of these five coordinators will now receive the Americorps Education Award for all of their work. Nelda Ault, the USU community service coordinator, expressed that this will not only pay tribute to those who work to help others, but give them incentive to work harder every day.
New to the Service Center this year is Big Brother Big Sisters of Utah, a program that matches USU students to a child in which they mentor. Over fall break, representatives from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah office came to Logan to interview potential candidates for the program; they anticipate having mentors and mentees matched by mid-November. Those chosen are signing on for a full calendar year commitment.
“For years, USU had a program called Pals that matched mentors with mentees. We felt that the support the BBBS of Utah gives those apart of their program — monthly phone calls to volunteers, the child, and the child's parents, along with top notch training and ways to facilitate mentorships for an entire year — could only benefit everyone involved,” Ault said. “Such a well-known program will improve our volunteer experience and the experience for the child.”
A pipeline has been developed between Student Nutrition Access Center, more commonly referred to as the SNAC pantry, and the USU Food Recovery Network that allows USU students to get free meals with their ID card. By taking the leftover food from the seven dining halls on campus the SNAC pantry puts excess food to use and cuts down on waste generated by the school.
According to Ault the fall is the most active time of the year for the Service Center. The next event they are working at is the Cache Humane’s Super Adoption. This project will be held on Sept. 10-12 in the parking lot of PetSmart in Logan. Volunteers help set up and run the event as well as walking the animals and introducing them to prospective owners. This project will be followed by multiple others throughout the 2015 and 2016 school year. Cath Marque, the fundraising and volunteer coordinator for Cache Humane, said the Service Center has been helpful in finding volunteers that keep their organization alive.
“The Service Center is a useful resource for recruiting volunteers for large projects, and directing students to us, who are looking for service opportunities within Animal welfare,” Marque said.
For students of USU, working with these programs can open doors for many new possibilities. Joining the Service Center programs allows students to get involved in the community, complete service hours for their resume or scholar program, and get experience volunteering in their future field of work. Also, anyone who asks to get involved is accepted, creating opportunities to make many new friends.
“Each program touches surrounding communities in hundreds of different ways," Ault said. "Children get tutored. Money is raised for local non-profits. Elderly folks get to play games and make crafts. Houses get built. Little kids are mentored. The list can go on.”
The Service Center is not just remodeling the programs, physical remodeling has also taken place. Sliding glass doors are being installed as well as a fresh paint job to help create a professional atmosphere.