By Lucy Marincel
In 2009, President Obama declared September 11th a national day of service. This past September 11th, students and faculty at Metropolitan State University answered that call with a two day event entitled United We Serve.
On the first day, students, faculty, staff and administrators took part in a large, ten site day of service in the community. Activities ranged from making sandwiches for a lunch at a local homeless shelter to helping out in community gardens around the community. For some, the project was a day long. For others, such as the students who volunteered with Meals on Wheels, it was the beginning of a continuous opportunity to serve. The wide range of service activities planned not only meant that more members of the university community could serve, but as one of the student leaders for the event, Vanessa Young, pointed out, it allowed her to serve the community based on her interests. Young also noted that the experience made her excited about service learning in her future career plans to work with youth.
The second day included a presentation from friends and family members of Tom Burnett, Jr. The university opened up the event to the public as well as members of the Metro State community. This event made the connection between remembering September 11th and a call to civic engagement clear. As Susan Shumer, the director for Community Outreach, Civic Engagement and Center for Community-Based Learning, explains, “the Burnett Family Foundation has taken a family tragedy and turned it into a legacy – through the development of a civic engagement curriculum.”
Overall, the two day experience impacted the Metro State community a great deal. The importance of events like this for a college or university community should not be overlooked. As one of the student organizers of the event, Katy Knable, noted:
“I absolutely think it made an impact on everyone who served. We have a tendency to become so insulated from what’s really going on out there that without active reminders that there is homelessness, hunger, environmental concerns, abuse (I could go on) in our communities we become immune to it.”
If you’d have a story about the September 11th Day of Service you’d like to share, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to Susan Shumer, Katy Knable, and Vanessa Young for information on this story.