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ISSUE 117 VOL 7 PUBLISHED 11/7/2003

Sun dawns on service: Attendance high at Volunteer Network events

By Emelie Heltsley
Staff Writer

Friday, November 7, 2003

Last week was Volunteer Network Week, a week dedicated to raising awareness about the various Volunteer Groups in which students can get involved. Up Till Dawn, a group that raises money and awareness for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, celebrated Up Till Dawn Week in conjunction with Volunteer Network Week. Up Till Dawn is in their third year at St. Olaf.

Matt Toburen '04, Coordinator for the Volunteer Network, became a volunteer as a first-year and continued with the Volunteer Network through his first three years at St. Olaf. As the ’03-’04 Volunteer Coordinator, Toburen was an integral part in the planning of this year’s Volunteer Network Week.

Toburen had several goals in mind while planning this year’s events.

"I wanted to raise awareness for the various groups on campus. I wanted everyone to have fun, Toburen said." "I wanted to get as many volunteer programs involved as possible, and I wanted the volunteer groups who usually work off-campus to bring something on-campus."

On their website, Volunteer Network says they are "committed to providing volunteer opportunities for students that benefit both St. Olaf and the larger community. Its goal is to make a variety of volunteer programs available to students."

On Monday, students enjoyed a rousing game of Caf Bingo and had the chance to win various prizes.

On Tuesday, the Volunteer Network arranged "Special Olympics Bowling" in Buntrock Commons. Original plans had Special Olympics Athletes playing along side Oles, but, at the last minute, the Special Olympics Athletes weren’t able to come. Students still had fun bowling in Buntrock.

Also on Tuesday, Up Till Dawn organized a Date Auction to raise funds for St. Jude’s hospital. Students auctioned themselves off as dates in the cafeteria during dinner, and the event was sucessful.

Wednesday’s event was Pet Therapy. Puppies, kittens, and other animals were brought into Buntrock to play with students. The Pet Therapy Program runs every Friday. Pets are brought from the Humane Society to a Senior Center, and then to St. Olaf, where students can play with them.

On Thursday, Volunteer Network organized a Halloween Party for kids in the community. After trick-or-treating in the various residence halls, children could enjoy carnival-type games in the Sun Room in Buntrock. Also on Thursday, students enjoyed a lecture by guest speaker Fran Heitzman.

Toburen would like to see more volunteer groups on campus. He said that there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer at St. Olaf, and all of them help others, are worthwhile, are great venues to meet people and are lots of fun.

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