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Tying knots to serve others

Source: Ryan Everson
Weber State University students Danielle Nelson (left) and Raquel Guadarrama (right) tie fleece blankets to be donated to St. Anne's Shelter in Ogden.

Students gathered in the Shepherd Union Building Saturday to tie fleece blankets for St. Anne’s Shelter in Ogden.

The Nontraditional Student Center and the Community Involvement Center teamed up in an effort tie 100 blankets for the shelter, a task that was completed in less than two hours.

Tying blankets was one of several service projects held throughout the week as part of the CIC’s Martin Luther King Jr. Service Week. Debbie Cragun, the Nontraditional Student Center coordinator, said the project was an opportunity to encourage nontraditional students to help others.

“I do want to get more students out doing service,” Cragun said, “and this was kind of a jump-start to that. St. Anne’s uses them in the shelter, on the beds that they have in the shelter. And sometimes they’ll donate them as moms and dads leave the shelter to go to an apartment. They’ll donate them for their homes or their kids as they leave the shelter, too.”

Although lunch was provided for volunteers, Lawrence Stein, a Weber State University junior and AmeriCorps member, said the knowledge that he was contributing to a project that would benefit others was the most rewarding part of the day.

“It’s a personal achievement,” Stein said. “After you do something like this, you think about who it’s impacting, and that makes you feel good. You’re making blankets for people living in a homeless shelter. That’s going to make anyone feel good.”

Stein also said students should seek opportunities to contribute to service projects because a small sacrifice can make a big difference.

“When you’re sitting here for a couple of hours tying quilts,” Stein said, “you think it’s really time consuming, but then you have to think about where the quilts are going. They’re going to kids, and they’re going to the homeless shelter. It really makes a person feel good.”

Movies played on a projector screen to entertain students while they tied the blankets, but some students said getting to know their fellow service project participants was the only entertainment they needed.

“The best part about this project is that it brought people from all kinds of different backgrounds together,” said Noel Wilkinson, an AmeriCorps vista member working in the CIC. “The simple fact that when you’re tying a blanket one person cuts and a whole group of people can be tying means that you get to sit and communicate and get to know people. I made three new friends today just because I got to hear their stories and find out why they’re here and what makes service so important to them.”

In addition to the CIC and Nontraditional Student Center, other organizations on campus decided to participate in Saturday’s project. WSU’s Greek sorority, Delta Chi Nu, and fraternity, Pi Theta Xi, showed up to help tie blankets as part of their rush week.

“We always try to incorporate community service with our rush week,” said Alysha Sutton, president of Delta Chi Nu, “and we were really fortunate that this week was the Martin Luther King Jr. week of service. The school had a lot going on. Our community service has probably increased three-fold since the sorority first started. It’s what our sorority is founded on.”

In addition to service opportunities, Cragun said any nontraditional students can get involved with the Nontraditional Student Center in many other areas.

“It’s a great place for students who are either married, over 25 or a parent to come,” Cragun said. “We have peer advisors who can help them get registered or start school, but also when they’re in school, we have a lot of programs for them as families. We have a lot of resources for students who are working full-time or have a family or are young and married.”

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