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Students give back to community with Three Days

News Editor

Published: Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 16:12

3 Days

Photos by Joe Shearer/ The Gateway

A volunteer sorts books into piles aat the Open Door Mission in Carter Lake over fall break

For the typical college student, fall break consists of sleeping, eating and maybe studying (if absolutely necessary). However for nearly 700 students, their fall break was filled with volunteer opportunities. Every year, the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Office of Civic and Social Responsibility hosts the Three Days of Service event during fall break.

“Projects throughout the Three Days addressed community issues, including economic stability, environmental stewardship, health and wellness, social advocacy, international service and educational support,” said Julie Smith, the event coordinator. “Volunteers learned about the mission of the nonprofit, toured the organization and gained knowledge about the services, clients served and the impact of their service on the organization.”

Throughout the days, students sorted toys, worked in food pantries, designed and made school uniforms for students in Madagascar and helped with grounds clean-up.

By holding these events, CSR hopes to engage students in the community.  “It’s important for the university to build a relationship with the community.  These events allow students to be involved in the building of that relationship and shows the community how dedicated UNO is in supporting the community,” said Michael Van Sant Jr., who assisted the volunteer coordinator during the event.

One of the most important parts of the event is receiving the positive feedback from the students after the event.  Van Sant Jr. said students spoke about how much they learned about the different groups they served and were impressed by how many resources there are throughout Omaha.  “They also learned a great deal about the problems that their own communities struggle with and the commitment that non-profit organizations are making to address these issues,” Van Sant Jr. said.

Smith added how important it is for students to get involved while in school. “Engaging in the community is vital for a healthy democracy. America is made up of involved citizens. College is a great time to teach citizens about the importance of giving back to the community, as they develop into professional adults,” Smith said.

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