Recognizing volunteer work with Mavs in Action

Mavs in Action hosted Maverick Day of Service Saturday, a volunteering event, to help clean various locations around Mankato. Students gathered in the Centennial Student Union before heading out to cleanup locations.

Interim assistant director of community engagement Crystal Watts said the Maverick Day of Service is a tradition students love. In addition, it is hosted during National Volunteer Month. The Student Activities office decorated the showcase area in the CSU to recognize and thank volunteers on campus.

“The Maverick Day of Service also happens to coincide with the city of Mankato as the beginning of their Earth Week,” said Watts.

Students were broken up into several groups which worked at specific sites throughout the day.

“Typically what we used to do is try to get about five or six different work sites in service within two to three hours,” said Watts. “This year, we’ve broken it up across the span of the whole day.”

A lot of the projects were focused on the city of Mankato. Volunteers traveled to different locations to help clean up parks, walkways and other community areas. 

“We are going to be doing Stoltzman Road trail, Rasmussen woods clean up, Val Imm Drive clean up from campus down to Warren Street, and Glenwood trail,” said Watts. “Then we have a special crew going over to a newer organization called A New Start, and they help repurpose furniture and gather household goods for people emerging from homelessness.”

Some locations were more distant from campus and are not walkable. Student groups were transferred to the locations on minivans rented by Mavs in Action. 

“I’ve got some student drivers and we will be shuttling people to various locations that are not walkable,” said Watts. “For example, students will walk down to Rasmussen woods but they’re going to be tired by the time they get done. So we’re going to go pick them up and bring them back to campus. Val Imm Drive is pretty much connected to campus so people can walk that, which is really accessible for some students.”

According to Watts, honoring volunteer work and recognizing it throughout the month is important. Volunteer work is focusing attention on important issues by showing a community that volunteers care and want to improve specific aspects.

“If you think about how communities are situated, so much of what we enjoy, is brought about by volunteers. Volunteers can be seen in just about every facet of our community life,” Watts said. “A lot of very serious conversations have gotten started because volunteers choose to step up and serve, especially when you’re talking about food insecurity, housing issues, environmental impact and children’s programming.”

While Mavs in Action wraps up its activities for the academic year and helps students earn required volunteer hours, Watts recognizes the achievements made throughout the year.

“Mavs in Action has seen an unprecedented growth in our activity and involvement and it’s because of very passionate students,” Watts said. “It doesn’t matter if they’re volunteering with us because they have a scholarship or classroom requirement, or they love doing it, all volunteers are valid and we make sure that they know that and we’re super grateful for them.”

Header photo: Crystal Watts volunteered on the Maverick Day of Service, which is a Maverick tradition to give back to the community via volunteering projects. (Alexis Darkow/The Reporter)

Write to Amalia Sharaf at Amal.Sharafkhodjaeva@mnsu.edu

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