DSCSA, volunteers get hands dirty at year’s first service project

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About 50 Dixie State College students went back to elementary school Thursday—to help beautify the playground and participate in the first official service project of the semester.

Event coordinator Jordyn Hanevold, a junior elementary education major from Logandale, Nev., said the elementary school was a great place to start. East Elementary is located just across the street from Hansen Stadium, so it was easy for students on campus to attend.

Hanevold’s original plan was to have the students paint a map of the United States on the playground asphalt, but the school already had one. Instead, the DSC volunteers got down and dirty by removing weeds along the fences surrounding the school.

Ashley Noto, a freshman general education major from Moapa Valley, Nev., was one of a particularly enthusiastic group of student council members who were dedicated to the project, despite the southern Utah afternoon heat.

“I love service,” she said. “I do it because it’s what I want to do. Service rocks.”

She was joined by her friend Ashley Vogel, a freshman dental hygiene major from St. George, who said the group was expected to participate because they were a part of student government. However, she said she’d still attend regardless of her position.

“I would have [come] even if I wasn’t on student government,” she said. “I like to get involved, and it’s fun coming and doing things with your friends.”

Kendal Pitts, a freshman nursing major from Las Vegas, had a higher authority to answer to.

“I’m doing it for God,” she said. “When you’re serving your fellow men, you’re serving God.”

The students gathered in the lobby of the Student Activity Center where they chatted about grass stains and weather while they waited for the event to start. Once everyone was accounted for, Mary Nell Lundquist, service and AmeriCorps specialist, led the DSC students across the street.

She laughed along the way and said it reminded her of taking a group of elementary school children on a field trip.

Although the volunteers gave off the air of being led across the street by a teacher, they proved they were in it to serve when they arrived and got to work.

“There are activities happening like [this] all the time,” Lundquist said to the crowd once they’d reached their destination. “Just come to my office and tell me what you want to get involved in.”

Felicia Olmos, a sophomore health occupations major from Price, is in her third year on student government and is helping organize the service events. She said her goal is to help students realize that getting involved doesn’t have to be tedious.

“A lot of students think, ‘Oh, service, I’m going to have to do work,’” she said. “But we make our service events fun. There [are] always rewards. Our theme for student government is to work hard and have fun.”

The DSC Student Association passed out gloves, shovels and rakes to the volunteers. It wasn’t long before each student was on his or her knees attempting to decipher what was grass and what was a weed.

One volunteer joked about a particularly weedy section of grass on the exterior perimeter of the lawn.

“I think [the kids] play in weeds, actually,” said Dustin Delahoussaye, a freshman business major from Las Vegas. “I don’t even think there’s grass here.”

Eventually the volunteers had the fence line tidy and almost weed-free, and as it turned out, there weren’t as many weeds as Delahoussaye originally thought. The DSCSA provided attendees with Otter Pops and Capri Sun drinks, but there were potentially greater awards.

Lydia Jeppson, a sophomore business major from Price, said her experience has been greater than just social or physical.

“My school life is affected so much and (it) benefits so much from being involved in service,” she said. “I’ve learned that it’s really great to help others. There’s a lot of help that can be done, and the more students that you have, the easier it is to have it done. That’s one of the great rewards of it.”