Bison Service Challenge awards student volunteers
Published: Monday, May 7, 2012
Updated: Monday, May 7, 2012 14:05
Students contributed a record amount of community service hours this year for NDSU’s Bison Service Challenge.
Student groups and individuals were honored for their contributions to the community at the Bison Service Challenge awards ceremony on Thursday. The Bison Service Challenge is a competition to log the most volunteer hours between four categories of student groups: athletic team, student organization, Greek life and residence life.
The total number of volunteer hours logged by all participants this year reached 51,124 hours. This calculated to a total of over 100,000 philanthropy dollars.
Matthew Skoy, NDSU assistant director for service learning and civic engagement, developed the Bison Service Challenge in 2009. He said the total number of volunteer hours has increased by about 10,000 hours each year since the challenge began.
“It’s awesome to watch students roll their sleeves up and give back to the community,” he said.
The first and second place winners from each group are awarded a grant of $700 and $300, respectively, to donate to a charity of their choice.
Kappa Alpha Theta sorority won the Greek life category with over 3,000 volunteer hours. This is the sorority’s third year as winners of the Greek life category.
Abby Hammes, service and philanthropy chair for KAT, said the sorority’s total volunteer hours averaged 38 hours per member, which is twice as much as the sorority’s required amount of hours.
“Individual motives definitely outweigh the requirement factor,” Hammes said. “Humans naturally just enjoy helping others.”
Dane Johanson was the keynote speaker at the awards ceremony. As a resident assistant in Seim Hall, Johanson said he works hard to motivate students to volunteer and “treasure” their college opportunities.
“The Bison Service Challenge helped me realize the impact that volunteer groups can have on the community,” he said. “It does a good job of changing the way we view service at NDSU.”
Johanson said serving others is becoming a norm at NDSU.
In addition to the Bison Service Challenge awards, the NDSU Volunteer Network also recognized an individual student with the Sarah Martinsen Award. This award is given in honor of Sarah Martinsen, an NDSU student who passed away while on her first Students Today Leaders Forever service tour in 2010.
Melissa Fleck was chosen for the award out of eight nominees. Fleck was awarded for her commitment to the YWCA women’s shelter, participation in various fundraising and dedication to increasing volunteer hours within the Living Learning Center.
Fleck received a $1000 grant from Dakota Medical Foundation, which she donated to the YWCA. She was also awarded a $500 scholarship from the Martinsen family.
Skoy said the Bison Service Challenge impacts the students who participate as well as those whom they serve.
“The biggest thing students take away is ownership in this world,” he said, “because to truly have ownership, you need to know how to give.”