Service projects done safely during the pandemic, just need the snow

Scene from a previous Cache Valley winter

LOGAN — Giving Tuesday was this past week – a day to recognize and support worthy non-profits in our community. A listener to KVNU’s For the People recommended one project underway in Cache Valley this fall and winter being accomplished by the Val R. Christensen Service Center at Utah State University.

Specifically, it’s a program to coordinate volunteers with good backs and snow shovels to those who might need help clearing snow – when it arrives – this winter. Service Center Coordinator Nelda Ault-Dyslin was a guest on For the People this past Wednesday and acknowledged that a lot of things that are usually done, including traditional extra-curricular events and other social activities and service opportunities this semester, have not been possible because of precautionary measures being taken because of COVID-19.

“I was in a meeting with Cache Community Connections, which is the inter-faith and civic group here in Logan, and someone in that group brought up the point that there’s a community need for snow shovelers.  That kind of rang a bell with me because the service center is actually celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. It’s been a student-directed service center for fifty years and the very first activity that they ever did in 1970 was in fall semester and they went and raked leaves in the community,”  she explained.

Ault-Dyslin realized she had a lot of student leaders in the service center whose programs were not going to get off the ground this semester because a lot of their work is based on face-to-face contact and doing service one-on-one.

“But the snow shoveling and raking leaves in the great outdoors with small groups of people or individuals can actually fit really well in this time of COVID.  So, we did a lot of brainstorming and kept safety at the forefront of our minds and came up with a way for volunteers to register themselves saying that they are able and willing and then also for residents to register their need.”

It’s very easy for residents to sign-up for receiving some of this assistance with snow removal this winter, leaf clearing or more or if you would like to volunteer your services, go to usu.edu/servicecenter.

Ault-Dyslin said they often talk about the education a student gets in the classroom. But she said there’s also the education they get in learning what it means to be a community member. Many people come to USU where they’re leaving their homes for the first time.

They come to Logan where they don’t know very many people, they don’t know what makes the community tick. She said she likes to help students get off campus to realize that Logan exists beyond their need to go to school and that there’s a community here and they’re actually part of it, whether they knew it or not.

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