Pioneers pay it forward, volunteers pass it on

Regina Neenan, Local Editor

New and returning University of Wisconsin-Platteville students participated in the second annual Pioneers Pay it Forward community service project.

The event, organized by the Pioneer Involvement Center, was part of  the Welcome Weekend activities. This project allows students to learn about, explore and give back to the Platteville community.

Assistant director for the Pioneer Involvement Center and event coordinator, Valerie Wetzel, said that the annual community service project is a feel-good event where students truly make a difference.

The participating students had a breakfast of bananas and doughnuts, donated by Kwik Trip, in the Pioneer Crossing located in the Markee Pioneer Student Center in preparation for the day’s activities.

“When they signed up, they had no clue what they were doing,” Wetzel said.

“With a peer leader in each group, they took time to get to know one another and then loaded into buses and vans.”

The annual project is open to all students, as well as university staff, employees and the community.

The volunteers, having been separated into 10 groups, went to nine areas within Platteville, including Family Advocates, Manor Care, Seinna Crest and Jeanor Towers, trails near Rountree, City Park, Campus, the Mining Museum and Stone Cottage.

The 65 participants were not only treated to breakfast, but also received a catered lunch donated by Jimmy Johns as well as a free T-shirt for participating in the service day.

“It’s a good thing to do before school starts, and it was a bonus to get the get a free T-shirt and lunch,” Jen Bajorek, senior elementary education major and event  volunteer said.

The weather cooperated for the most part, leaving only a light drizzle for the volunteers to fight through, but the PIC’s backup plan would have had them covered.

Did not have time to participate? Stop by the PIC to accumulate community service hours and can keep track of them on PioneerLink. In addition, students will assist children of military families through Operation Military Kids.

“We’re still going to need people over the next month to stop at the PIC,” Wetzel said.

To volunteer or learn more about volunteer opportunities on and around campus, visit Pioneer Involvement center or contact Valerie Wetzel at [email protected]