Beavers Serve the Community on Buenafication Day

Gray skies couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of hundreds of volunteers who either braved the elements or kept busy inside, completing projects on campus and beyond in the 106th annual Buenafication Day celebration at Buena Vista University.

Gray skies couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of hundreds of volunteers who either braved the elements or kept busy inside, completing projects on campus and beyond in the 106th annual Buenafication Day celebration at Buena Vista University on Tuesday.

“Nothing brings me more pleasure than seeing students working with our faculty and staff and joining community members in making the community a better place,” President Joshua Merchant said during the opening ceremony. 

“You leave here with an education and go out into the world,” added Storm Lake Mayor Mike Porsch. “Part of that education involves what you do in your communities.”

“Buenafication Day is a wonderful campus commitment and tradition to serve the Storm Lake community. It is amazing to be able to watch it grow into an entire county effort to make northwest Iowa better.”

Dr. Ashley Farmer-Hanson

The drive to improve one’s place showed in a collective spirit across campus and into Buena Vista County on April 30. Hundreds of students helped pack thousands of ready-made meals in an assembly-line setup in the Dows Multipurpose Room.

And while football players moved chairs, risers, and other equipment inside Siebens Fieldhouse, the baseball team reported to Buena Vista University Golf Course at Lake Creek to help ready the course for spring. 

Still, other students spent time raking, cleaning, painting, and more. Many spent a portion of the day mentoring young people in local schools, while a collection of St. Mary’s students in grades 6-12 joined BVU for the opening ceremony before participating in the day of service.

Sophomore Tania Toj, of Postville, joined her squad, the BVU women’s soccer team, in packing rice, pinto beans and more into meal packages to be distributed by Upper Des Moines Opportunity Inc. She then planned to pack lunches for folks in need.

“You don’t know who is going to receive these items, but it’s nice to know they’re going to someone who needs them,” she said.

“It makes me feel good to know that one small act can make a huge difference in the life of someone else,” said Paige Vanderhoff, a sophomore from Gilmore City who worked with The Danger Tones, an a capella group on campus.

Junior Will Marble, of Omaha, worked with Angie Rasmus, a BVU nurse, in rolling bandages for Team Wellness on Buenafication Day. Thousands of bandages rolled and secured on this day will be shipped to Global Health Ministries for distribution to communities in need around the world. The idea came from BVU student Megan Wassom, a senior from Spencer.

“We do take things for granted,” Marble said. “It’s surprising, but bandages are needed elsewhere in developing countries, even in doctor’s offices.”

Several students joined faculty, staff, and select BVU alums in working outside on a damp, drizzly day. Trace Ticknor, a senior from Bridgewater, talked about securing his first full-time job, a position with American National Bank in Omaha, as he raked sticks and leaves in Scout Park.

“I’ve picked up the beach area (at Scout Park) the last two years on Buenafication Day,” said Ticknor, a member of Adventure Leadership Program Scholars, or ALPS.

Ticknor worked alongside Dr. Mindi (Becker) Dayton ’01, a member of the BVU National Alumni Board, who traveled from Ankeny to celebrate her first Buenafication Day visit in 18 years, or, her senior year.

“As a student, I played basketball and was active in our biology club,” said Dayton, a native of Atkins. “I remember being part of Buenafication Day.”

She wasn’t sure, she said with a light laugh, but she might have helped clean Scout Park on this day two decades ago.

“Buenafication Day is a wonderful campus commitment and tradition to serve the Storm Lake community. It is amazing to be able to watch it grow into an entire county effort to make northwest Iowa better,” said Assistant Vice President of Student Success & Director of Community Engagement Dr. Ashley Farmer-Hanson. “To be able to engage youth Pre-K – college is incredible. We are able to not only serve the community, but we are able to teach youth at a young age the value of service. Our college students are able to develop and reinforce skills that they will use in their future careers and life beyond BVU.”

Estimated service totals from the day include: 1,700 dental kits assembled; 10,680 meals packed; and 1,465 bandages rolled. Students, faculty, and staff members from Storm Lake, St. Mary’s, and Alta-Aurelia joined hundreds of BVU personnel, and community members in the 2019 Buenafication Day effort.

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