Attendance, groups aided up from past days of service
Photo by: 
Loren Fitzpatrick, Caitlin Gleason

Gold colored leaves and icy blue water surrounded Sydnee Olive at Long Lake near Crested Butte this past Sunday for Western Colorado University’s second annual Fall Day of Service. Olive, along with nine other volunteers, gathered trash, dismantled firepit rings and helped maintain the trail leading to the lake. 

“I really enjoy nature, and I am glad I was able to give back to the people who work so hard to maintain this area,” said Olive. 

As the leaves fall and temperatures drop in the Gunnison Valley, the need for volunteers does not. This year, 146 volunteers served 24 different nonprofit organizations across the valley. 

“The biggest difference this year was that we had more Western vans going up north,” said Annie Westbury, program coordinator for Student Engagement at Western and organizer of the Fall Day of Service. “Almost half of the projects were located in Crested Butte.” 

Compared to last year’s Fall Day of Service and spring-semester Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, this fall’s service day was the largest — in both volunteer attendance and service sites aided. 

“If I could speak to each individual who served, I would tell them, ‘Thank you for loving this community, because this community loves Western,’” said Westbury. “Let us keep this valley a place where you can say ‘Hi’ to your neighbors and you can lend a hand to whoever is in need, and not forget that people need help and if you can help them, help them.”

Westbury hopes that each Day of Service inspires more people in the community to get out and help each other. 

“It does not have to be an organized day by any means,” said Westbury. “There are people and organizations who are searching for help on a weekly basis. Reaching out is key.”

 

(Caitlin Gleason, Special to the Times.)

 

WHAT SERVICE MEANS TO THEM

Sydnee Olive, freshman 

Olive explained how she found out about the event. “The Fall Day of Service is a university-sponsored event and I try to be involved in everything I can on campus. Some of the satisfaction I get when I serve includes getting to build relationships with new people. As a student, I think that the community really supports us, and it feels good to give back.” 

Olive’s advice for people who are not sure about volunteering? “It is just like anything else. If you do not try it ,you will never know how good it feels to give back and help others.” 

 

Jeremy Stickler, junior

Stickler explained his favorite part about serving. “Knowing that I can come back and see the work I accomplished and see that it has made a difference and keep it nice for future generations is rewarding.” 

Stickler explained that serving is one way to help yourself and your community at the same time. “If we do not set the example, then nobody else will. Hopefully people will follow our example and serve their community.” 

As for what he hopes others take away from volunteering? “I now understand how much work others put in to making sure our environment and recreation sites are sustainable for years to come.” 

 

Avery Forsythe, senior

Forsythe was one of the site leaders in this year’s Fall Day of Service. She is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and played a major role in helping organize the event this year. “Growing up in Crested Butte, I have lived in this valley all my life. Because of that I have gained so much from all the different organizations.” 

One of the most rewarding parts of the day for Forsythe? “Knowing that the amount of work we completed in one day would take these nonprofits months to get done.” 

She hopes that in the future, more students volunteer in their community. 

 

Scott Krieger, resident director

Krieger moved to the valley this summer to take a job in Residence Life on campus. “I helped out with seniors in the community through Young at Heart. It was really nice to be able to interact with the people who have been involved in and driving this community for so long.” 

As a Western staff member, Krieger was able to see the event from a different perspective. “I saw first-hand the positive outcomes that can be realized when people get involved in their community and contribute to the overall success and well-being of everyone. The impact that can be achieved by a group of people working to give back to others is foundational in a healthy living environment.” 
 

Chloe Walker, sophomore 

Walker talked about how she and her swimming teammates came together outside the pool to serve others. “Our coach wanted us to volunteer. It is a great way to give back to the community. It is important to serve because everyone needs help sometimes.” 

 

2019 SERVICE SITES

> The Trailhead Children’s Museum

> Paradise Place Preschool

> Crested Butte Nordic Center

> Crested Butte Arts Festival 

> Crested Butte Development Team

> KBUT Community Radio

> Mountain Roots Food Project

> The Crested Butte Land Trust

> Crested Butte Center for the Arts 

> Gunnison Valley Animal Welfare League 

> Six Points Evaluation and Training

> Lead Sustainability — Freecycle 

> Gunnison Trails 

> Gunnison Arts Center

> Cattlemen’s Days Tough Enough to Wear Pink 

> Coldharbour Institute 

> Seasons Schoolhouse 

> Support Gunnison County Libraries 

> Gunnison Country Food Pantry 

> Western Organics Guild 

> Young at Heart

> Cochetopa Horsemanship 

> Gunnison Angling Society