Employees teach service by example

Summer University allows faculty and staff to work hard for local organizations within the UVU community.

With all the hustle and bustle in the halls of the Sorenson Student Center on Tuesday, May 17, it looked like school was in full swing, but instead of students scrambling to get to their next class it was UVU employees participating in “Summer University.”

Summer University is a weeklong conference dedicated to professional development for UVU faculty and staff held in May. The conference consists of various workshops, speakers, activities and service projects. This year, over 800 people registered for the conference.

The event which ran from May 16-18, started with get-to-know-you activities including a golf tournament, karaoke, a talent show and even a Dutch oven cooking demonstration.

Day Two began with keynote speakers Lynn Lancaster and Seth Mattison. Lancaster co-founded Bridgeworks, a company dedicated to helping institutions and businesses bridge generation gaps, and with Mattison, co-authored the best-selling book When Generations Collide. About 900 employees spent the rest of the day attending a string of workshops focused on successfully maneuvering the multi-generational culture that exists on campus.  At the top of every hour, the hallways were crammed with employees chatting excitedly as they made their way to the next lecture.

For the third year, Summer University included a day completely dedicated to serving in the UVU community. Participants were able to register beforehand for the project they most wanted to be a part of.

“It’s important that when we’re talking about engaged learning that UVU and the community aren’t viewed separately,” said Alexis Palmer, director of UVU’s Volunteer and Service-Learning Center. “UVU is part of the community. We have a responsibility to serve in our community, and vice versa, our community supports us and finds value in what we do.”

Despite the rainy weather, over 400 employees participated in a total of 21 projects. At one of the 23 different service locations, 15 participants were found at UVU’s Habitat for Humanity house in Provo, clad with hooded sweaters and work gloves as they worked in the steady rain planting trees and shrubs. Other service projects included cleanup for Orem and Provo Parks and Recreation, visiting with residents at rehab and nursing facilities and helping out at community centers.

UVU is being recognized for its community service efforts. Just recently, UVU was honored with the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the fifth year in a row. However, this is the first year that UVU received distinction on the Honor Roll, and was the only state school to receive such recognition in the state.

Laura Moster, who is in charge of running the South Franklin Community Center in Provo, talked over the whir of a carpet cleaner run by a Summer University volunteer.

“Everything here is completely run on contributions; we have no official budget,” Moster said as she expressed appreciation for the service.

“UVU is leading the state in community engagement and service learning,” Palmer said. “It’s something that UVU is invested in.”

With its continued growth, UVU still strives to engage its students and teach them the importance of being a part of the community.

“When students leave UVU, they aren’t just leaving with a degree,” Palmer said. “My hope is that they leave finding value in being an active citizen in their community.”

President Holland summarized the purpose of bringing UVU employees together at the Summer University concluding luncheon.

“Summer University is us putting our money where our mouth is in being a community-based university committed to service,” Holland said.

This year, UVU worked with more than ten local organizations including, the Boys and Girls club, the Red Cross, Kids on the Move, Habitat for Humanity and the Food Bank.

To learn more about how to get involved, visit www.uvu.edu/volunteer.

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