Buena Vista University (BVU) will hold its 99th Buenafication Day on April 24. For this annual day of service and fun--which had its beginning as "Hobo Day"--classes are canceled to allow students, faculty and staff the opportunity to volunteer their time for service activities on campus and at local public and non-profit organizations in the community.
Over 60 BVU departments and student organizations have signed up to volunteer at approximately 33 locations throughout the Storm Lake area, says Ashley Farmer-Hanson, director of civic engagement. Among the service projects planned is "Beads for Music," in which students can make and purchase bracelets. The project ties into the day's theme, "Rock On, Serve On," with all proceeds being donated to a local school music program. BVU students will also put together over 100 backpack meals for students in the Storm Lake area as a part of the "BVU Against Hunger" initiative.
Student events include an outdoor movie the night before, a kickball tournament, and the fourth Beavers' Annual Great Boat Float Challenge -- in which students, faculty and staff race boats made from cardboard and duct tape.
This year, BVU has partnered with St. Mary's Schools and Storm Lake Community Schools. Service projects include playground clean-up at St. Mary's and indoor spring cleaning at the Storm Lake Elementary School. In addition, 80 middle school students will join BVU's Outdoor Adventure Club to clean up Scout Park.
"The Storm Lake community gives BVU so much and Buenafication Day is our way to come together and say thank you," says Farmer-Hanson. "Our students can learn so much from the community through service. My goal is to expose BVU students to different agencies and forms of service and to show them that they can learn a great deal about themselves and their hidden passions in life through service."
"When people--especially at a young age--learn the importance of giving back to the world, it makes where we live so much better," says Serena Geisinger, a junior biology major from Lawton, and co-president of Student MOVE (Mobilizing Outreach Volunteer Efforts). "People helping others is one of the most beautiful things, and it is great that BVU promotes this notion with such vigor." Serena is part of the opening ceremony committee for Buenafication Day.
Last year, over 1,000 students, faculty and staff logged 2,600 hours of service on Buenafication Day.
This year, BVU alumni are encouraged to track service throughout the month of April as part of the "Buenafication Day Alumni Challenge." Alumni who are interested in this or who would like to work with a student organization on a Buenafication Day service project can contact Farmer-Hanson at firstname.lastname@example.org. For a complete schedule of events and more information on Buenafication Day, visit www.bvu.edu/buenafication.