Bennion Center Offers More this Holiday Season

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(Daily Utah Chronicle File Photo)

(Daily Utah Chronicle File Photo)
(Daily Utah Chronicle File Photo)

 
The Bennion Center has more options for students to serve this holiday season.
Officials from the volunteer organization on campus coordinated with the Food Bank and the Salvation Army this year in the hope that students will spend some time giving back. Gideon Tolman, the student programs coordinator for the Bennion Center, said more than 8,500 students, faculty and staff at the U spend about 183,000 hours in serving the community. He estimates about 20 to 30 percent of those hours are filled during this time of year.
“More people become service-minded,” Tolman said. “They think about people who don’t have as many resources, so it is a time for people to serve more.”
He said this increase in desire to serve fueled the center’s partnerships with local non-profits.
“It is important because there are a lot of needs,” Tolman said. “U students have a lot of energy to help meet the needs and make the community a better place.”
Cole Jones, a freshman in business, thinks it is “morally” sound to serve over the holidays.
“Not only is it a good thing to do … people really need help during this time,” Jones said. “If people go and see how much it truly helps them and impacts them, it is such a positive influence. People need to be aware that service exists more then just over the holidays.”
In addition to having new organizations for U students to serve with, the Bennion Center will continue to do its monthly projects on Saturdays. For November, volunteers served at the Road Home Homeless Shelter. For December, the Bennion Center will take students to the Salvation Army to sort donations. The project takes place on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 9 a.m. Students can register online at bennioncenter.org.
Keeping the spirit of service up throughout the year can be a challenge, but Tolman said once students see the impact they have, he hopes they’ll continue to volunteer.
“When I go into any organization and see firsthand the impact that my service is making, that fuels my desire to continue serving,” he said. “It’s simply being aware that service exists outside of the holiday season.”
To be involved year-round, Tolman suggests that students come into the Bennion Center, located on the first floor of the Union, and talk with staff about different projects that might suit their interests.
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@JulianneSkrivan