Lowell Bennion’s Legacy Continues


By Stephany Cortez

The Bennion Center at the University of Utah is preparing for its biggest service project of the academic school year, aiding about 35 different community agencies and programs — five more projects than last year.

Currently, there are about 450 volunteers signed up and 1100 volunteer spots still open. Each year, there is a variety of service projects that are done on a single day, from gardening to cleaning to making dog beds. The event goes from  8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. starting at Glendale Middle School, where volunteers are treated to breakfast burritos and encouraged to mingle with their community members. This day’s goal is to honor Lowell Bennion, who led a life of service, and the center’s focus with this key event is to build upon his legacy.

Jennifer Jones, who worked at the Bennion Center last year as the communications director, has since retired, but commented on Legacy of Lowell and its impact. “For the past dozen years, the U family has joined with community members to work on projects that make the Salt Lake City area a better home for all of us. It’s all in honor of the man who routinely asked, ‘How can I help?’ Lowell Bennion was a philosopher, an educator, a family man and a good neighbor. His legacy is one of inclusion and caring. It’s an example the Bennion Center, named in his honor, hopes to carry forward for many years to come.”

Jones remarked, “Whether it’s weeding, working on home repair, quilting, conducting vision screenings or one of almost 20 other activities, Legacy of Lowell connects the U with the community, unlike any other activity. There are family-friendly projects for children or more grown-up work for students and other adults.”

Bennion Center’s Student Programs Manager, Eric Nheim, also spoke of his involvement with the Bennion Center and how the Legacy of Lowell impacted both his academic and professional career. “I found the Bennion Center during my freshman year of college and my curiosity only grew when I volunteered at Legacy of Lowell. The following year, a friend and I became team leaders for one of the Bennion Center’s programs called Project Youth. It was a monthly commitment where I would visit Title I elementary schools to talk to kids about attending higher education. In my junior and senior year at the U, I was the director of the program. It was through Legacy of Lowell that I fell in love with Project Youth and the Bennion Center. I found a sense of belonging, I’m lucky to be a part of such a wonderful organization and now I am in charge of the entity that started it all.”

This is Nheim’s first time running the Legacy of Lowell event without the aid of his co-director Bryce Williams, and, as expected, Nheim feels a mix of nervousness and excitement. “I would be lying if I said it was easy. However, I have the support of my colleagues at the Bennion Center who are quick to lend a hand when needed and three student leaders: Diana Pogosyan, Lexy Nestel and Jace Meier. They keep me sane, and I’m able to delegate tasks to them so more gets done at one time. It’s exciting to see months of coordination come together and see my students grow in the process.”

Legacy of Lowell has grown over its 16 years of service with students and their families, friends, and colleagues being able to come out and engage in their community for a few hours of the day. The Legacy of Lowell is regarded as the most impactful event hosted by the Bennion Center because it involves everyone in their community to make a difference.

Nheim remarked, “I have met students who want to be more involved in the Bennion Center because they came to volunteer at Legacy of Lowell.”

The service day is set to take place in the morning to accommodate those who may not be able to dedicate a long time to community engagement. Students from all backgrounds and majors will gather at Glendale Middle School to give back to the community and find ways to keep doing service throughout the rest of their college career.

The Legacy of Lowell Annual Day of Service will be on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. For more information about the Legacy of Lowell Saturday Service Project or to register, visit the Bennion Center’s homepage.


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