University of Minnesota Duluth

 Office of the Chancellor Inauguration

News and Updates

February 28, 2011

Lucy Kragness, Assistant to the Chancellor, 218-726-6176,
Cheryl Reitan, Director, Marketing and Communication 218-726-8996,

UMD Debuts a New CHAMP Day of Service

Duluth, Minn. - University of Minnesota Duluth students are prepping to take on the CHAMP Day of Service, the first-ever UMD-sponsored, all-campus volunteering event.

CHAMP or "Connecting Hopes with Action to Mobilize People" will bring over 300 students, faculty, and staff to nearly 30 non-profit sites in the Duluth area. The event, to be held on Saturday, March 5, is part of UMD's celebration as the campus inaugurates Dr. Lendley C. (Lynn) Black as the ninth chancellor.

Chancellor Black said, "I didn't ask for a lot when the campus was planning the inauguration, but I did ask for a day of service." He wants the CHAMP Day of Service to celebrate UMD's relationship with its community, strengthening it at the same time. "I've seen how these service days affect people. We will benefit so many and we will learn so much," he said.

The official Inauguration Ceremony will be held in the Romano Gymnasium at 2 pm on March 4 and a campus reception will follow.


Sororities and fraternities, student organizations, and other groups have signed up to participate on March 5. The president of the UMD student body, Victor de Meireles, is volunteering with the members of the UMD Student Association along with members of the Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society.

Students Engaged in Rewarding Volunteer Experiences (SERVE), a UMD student-led group, has also jumped on board. Eight student leaders and 40 SERVE members are ready for the event: "It's great to be giving back to the community. It's a better thing to do on a Saturday than hanging around campus," said Erin Schleusner, one of the SERVE leaders. UMD is busing students to the non-profit sites that day. "Students will get to see a completely different part of Duluth," said Schleusner.

SERVE leaders know something about helping others. In the last year, they've painted the walls of a daycare and helped host a handful of community fundraising events from Boo-at-the-Zoo, Scarium at the Aquarium, the United Way Chili Cook-off, and the Walk to End Alzheimer's.

Erica Karrels, a SERVE leader, believes it will be a good way for the campus to mingle. "It will get everyone involved - faculty, staff, and students will be able to work on teams together. We don't get to do that often enough."

Michelle Hargrave, the Director of the Office of Civic Engagement and SERVE's advisor, has a mountain of details in front of her. "There's a lot of planning that takes place to match community organization projects with campus volunteer teams that can be completed in just one day," she said. "It's an inspiring experience that will result in reciprocal benefits to the community and the campus."

Hargrave is pleased that UMD will make a significant impact on the community and notes that this provides an avenue to strengthen campus-community partnerships while also benefiting student's personal development. "Studies show that students who volunteer develop confidence, communication and problem solving skills while also enhancing their opportunities after graduation," she said.

Hargrave agrees with one of the SERVE leaders, Katie McDowell, who said, "We'd like this to become an annual event."

Around Duluth

One of the non-profit sites chosen for the CHAMP Day of Service is Duluth's Life House, a program that helps get homeless youth off the streets and into safe housing, education, and employment opportunities.

Kim Crawford, the Life House executive director, has asked UMD to help paint rooms and stain storage shelves during the Day of Service. "It is important for us to provide a clean and healthy environment for the kids that come here," she said. Crawford and her team are working hard to keep the center looking attractive. "Freshly painted walls is what we need. Torn furniture had to go," Crawford said.

The center serves 14- to 21-year-olds who have become homeless for a variety of reasons. They may have been kicked out of their homes, are no longer in foster care or juvenile detention, or are suffering from mental health issues. "Most of these kids have experienced violence, substance abuse, or neglect," Crawford said. "They need to know they are valued. The first big hurdle we have to overcome is getting a homeless teen to trust an adult. Respect is absolutely necessary."

Life House operates the Lifeline Building, which gets its share of wear and tear. The organization assists over 600 individual teens each year, including many teen parents, and serves over 12,000 meals.

UMD students will get a tour of the Lifeline Building during the Day of Service. They'll learn how Life House offers immediate access to emergency needs such as food, shelter, basic health care, life skills development, and support services. "The first step is to take care of basic needs, but the next step is education and employment," said Crawford. "Our goal is to help teens get off the streets and into a successful life in the community."

Volunteer sites include the Lake Superior Zoo, PAVSA (Program for AID to Victims of Sexual Assault), YMCA, a home for mentally handicapped adults, Mentor Duluth, and many more. Participants will receive a free t-shirt.

Inauguration Week

The UMD service day caps off five days of inauguration events. The public is invited to the events held throughout the week.

The schedule begins with TEDxUMD, a series of 15-minute faculty and staff presentations on technology, entertainment, design, and more. The presentations take place on Tues., March 1 from 10 am-8 pm in the Kirby Student Center Lounge.

Panel discussions on Equity and Diversity will be held on Wed., March 2 from 11:30 am-1 pm and 3-4:30 pm in the fourth floor Library Rotunda.

The Keynote and Women's History Month Speaker, Cathi Tactaquin, will speak on "Women, Global Migration and Human Rights" on Wed., March 2 at 7 pm in the Kirby Ballroom.

Panel discussions on Sustainability will be held on Thurs., March 3 from 11:30 am-1 pm and 3-4:30 pm in the fourth floor Library Rotunda.

For information visit Inauguration Week Events.

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