Buenafication Day to Celebrate 100 Years

Buenafication Day to Celebrate 100 Years

Buenafication Day to Celebrate 100 Years

Buena Vista University will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of Buenafication Day in April with a week of activities.

Buenafication Day, which will be held on April 23, is a day of no classes allowing students, faculty and staff the opportunity to work on service projects on and off campus.

"Buenafication Day has become an event that students, faculty and staff look forward to every spring," says Dr. Ashley Farmer-Hanson, director of civic engagement. Its popularity is evidenced by the growing number of service hours logged by the volunteers. Last year, 1,100 volunteers, including students from the Storm Lake public schools, gave nearly 2,400 hours of service. The 2012 event had 68 BVU departments, student organizations and athletic teams doing service projects at 38 locations on campus and in the community. In recent years, in addition to the work projects on and off campus in the morning, other on-campus service projects have been held in the afternoon.

The day had its early beginning in 1913 as Hobo Day, an event where students spruced up the campus lawn and buildings then walked to downtown Storm Lake to "beg" for donations of food from merchants, followed by a picnic and other activities. The event was held fairly regularly over the next few decades of BVU's history, though there were lapses, especially in later years. At times, it was referred to as "Clean-up Day" or "Hobo and Clean-up Days." In some years, "begging" was also expanded to residential neighborhoods.

In the mid-1970s, the look of Hobo Day took on a new form as "Beautification Day" which focused on planting flowers and shrubs to beautify the campus and then added some cleanup projects on campus and in nearby parks.

In 1991, BVU's Centennial year, the tradition transitioned to what was called "Buena-fication Day" featuring service projects on campus and in the Storm Lake community in the morning followed by entertainment and other activities on campus in the afternoon. Today, students from the Storm Lake public schools and St. Mary's also participate in some service projects.

"Buenafication Day demonstrates our motto at BVU, Education for Service, in its truest form," says Farmer-Hanson. "We are very fortunate to have so many great community partners who want to be a part of the day by helping identify projects and by providing this learning opportunity to our students. It's great to see that 100 years later we are still living out the mission of BVU's founders and serving the City of Storm Lake, but also by providing a variety of learning opportunities through service."

In observance of the 100th anniversary, activities begin on April 16 and extend to Buenafication Day on April 23.

Some of the new service projects scheduled on Buenafication Day, April 23:

  • 4,000 bags of rice will be prepared by BVU students and Storm Lake first and second graders and will be donated to local non-profit organizations for distribution to clients.
  • 1,000 hygiene kits will be assembled by BVU and St. Mary's students and will be donated to local non-profits for distribution.
  • BVU students will help create quilts for the families of fallen soldiers in conjunction with the Freedom Quilts organization in Fonda.
  • A Buenafication Day Festival will be held at Peterson Field featuring games and craft activities for children.

Among the off-campus service project sites are Buena Vista Regional Medical Center; Buena Vista Historical Society; The Bridge of Storm Lake; United Community Health Center; North Lake Manor; Storm Lake and St. Mary's schools; Habitat for Humanity; Methodist Manor; Lakeside Presbyterian Church; City of Storm Lake; Santa's Castle; and Genesis Development.