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Homecoming Council brings in new event

BY DANIEL VALENTIN | OCTOBER 01, 2014 5:00 AM

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In an effort to get University of Iowa students more involved in Homecoming, officials have created a new event that will get students more engaged.

The Homecoming Council will now host Volunteer Day, which will take place on Saturday.

Executive Director of the Homecoming Council Jake Murphy said the council developed the event to increase the number of ways students could participate in Homecoming.

“We were evaluating how we could implement something new, but also have it really mean something, rather than just do it to do it,” he wrote in an email. “That’s how we came up with the idea of having students sign up to go to a local nonprofit and do various volunteer work.”

“Sending students out into the community not only benefits Iowa City but provides students with a chance to do meaningful work and get involved in Homecoming participation,” Murphy said in an email. “We were just looking for groups in the community that would have opportunities for volunteers if we provided the man-power.”

Volunteer Director Alex Westlund said previously, students would only be able to volunteer with the Homecoming Parade and the United Way 5K.

“With Volunteer Day, we can let people volunteer outside of the university setting and show how nonprofit organizations provide a chance for students to volunteer,” she said.

Murphy said the Homecoming Council also has another new event, the Hawkeye Feed.

The event, which is giving away free food to the first 200 students who are wearing Hawkeye gear, will take place on Oct. 7 and Oct. 9 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Hubbard Park.

Murphy said Noodles and Co. will provide the food, which will cost $1,500, and catering for the event will cost $1,700.

Westlund said students should be given the chance to fulfill the Iowa Challenge, the five expectations for students to accomplish in their time at the UI.

One point of the challenge is being able to engage in service for the community.

“The tradition of Homecoming is to make people feel like they’re at home,” she said. “A lot of people in our community don’t always get included in that feeling, and this event will definitely change that.”

Kristin Roberts, executive director for the Ronald McDonald House of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, will receive a group of 10 to 12 Hawkeye volunteers on Volunteer Day.

“It’s really awesome that the students are doing this,” she said. “It’s so neat to see the idea of service being instilled in their lives, whether it’s in classes or clubs that they’re in.”

Roberts said one of the best things she sees is that students, as well as members of the community, give their time and volunteer out of a genuine desire to help rather than collect hours or credit.

“To me, this seems like a great way for newer students to get connected to the Iowa City community,” she said. “One of the best things for them is to get involved.”

Roberts said she hopes volunteers can come and help one day, and then make a regular routine of it because it helps the Ronald McDonald House get larger projects done that it is not always able to get to.

Shelter House volunteer coordinator Lucy Trankina said it’s great for the students to get involved because she thinks the student population doesn’t have enough knowledge of what’s out there in terms of service organizations.

“This will be a great experience for the students because it will show them what we’re all about,” she said. “They’ll get our mission and hopefully start to help us out.”

Tami Bonnett, volunteer coordinator for the Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity said this is a good opportunity for the younger generation to learn the needs of the community and what people can do to help.

“This event will gain them a better understanding of our organization,” she said. “We’d like to have them advocate for us and come shop, donate, and volunteer at the ReStore.”


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