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Helping like CHAMPs

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CHAMP Day of Service: Back for a Second Year

UMD students participating in last year's CHAMP Day of Service  
champ and chan  
Chancellor Black and Champ at a community non-profit organization  

Goal 5 of UMD’s strategic plan is to “strengthen ties with Duluth and surrounding communities in an intentional, visible, and mutually beneficial partnership.” Nowhere is this evidenced more directly than CHAMP (Connecting Hopes with Action to Mobilize People) Day of Service. As part of Inauguration Week Activities in March of 2011, Chancellor Black proposed CHAMP Day, a campus-wide day of service where students, staff, and faculty participate in volunteer projects throughout the Greater Duluth area.

This April 21, as the culmination to National Volunteer Week, the second annual CHAMP Day of Service will be held. Last year, UMD mobilized nearly 300 volunteers, engaging in 691 hours of service in a single day. This year that number is expected to increase.

Erin M Zoellick, community engagement specialist in the Office of Civic Engagement, is hoping for 350-400 volunteers. She said, “This year, UMD is adding an alumni team and are also looking forward to increased participation from faculty and staff.” These measures should help to bolster participation and keep the program strong in its second year. Several organizations cooperated last year and are expected to return. Zoellick confirmed that, “We will most likely end up with 25 again this year.”

Individual participants were enthusiastic about last year’s event. An anonymous survey, taken at the end of last year’s Day of Service, garnered praise for the program. One student said, "Champ and the Chancellor showing up at our service place; meeting new people and sharing important work; getting to know a non-profit organization better; I'm ready for next year!" Faculty and staff are also on the CHAMP Day bandwagon. One faculty member praised the connections made through working in the community. "A great sense of camaraderie and purpose was developed and the community members … were very positive about the experience, too."

CHAMP Day of Service began with Chancellor Black's commitment to use his inauguration to provide a greater good. It is apparent from the energetic response surrounding the event, it is sure to be part of UMD for years to come.

Written by Zach Lunderberg, March 2012

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