After two years of virtual events, one of Colorado State University’s oldest service traditions is back in person for its 25th year, and the organizers are seeking volunteers.
“CSUnity: A National Volunteer Month CAMmunity Tradition,” a large-scale, one-day service event supporting the local community, is scheduled for Saturday, April 23, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
In the past, the annual service day attracted more than 2,000 CSU community members who collectively completed hundreds of volunteer projects within the Fort Collins community. In 2022, these community-wide spring clean-up projects will include yard work, environmental work, and town-and-gown relationship building in which CSU Rams and local nonprofit organizations assist older neighbors and neighbors with disabilities who are unable to do the work themselves or otherwise cannot afford it.
This year’s iteration is going back to its roots of cultivating intergenerational and community connections, according to Sarah Stephens, senior program coordinator of community engagement for CSU’s Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE) office.
“CSUnity goes beyond the service projects and making a difference,” Stephens said. “It’s also about building a greater appreciation for our fellow neighbors and building a deeper understanding of the impact and importance of service-based nonprofits in the Fort Collins community. Collective care is integral to CSUnity. Plus, ‘branching out and cultivating connections’ is thematic with April being National Volunteer Month and the spring season being underway.”
Stephens explained that they are seeking 1,500 volunteers, with registration opening on Monday, Feb. 21, and closing on Friday, April 1. Register at csunity.colostate.edu.
Interested CSU community members can register teams of five or more students/faculty/staff. They also can participate individually and join a team led by SLiCE or other campus partners. Registrations are handled first-come, first-serve until the maximum capacity is reached. Organizers said a waitlist will be created if maximum capacity is met before registration closes.
Once registered, primary and secondary team leaders will participate in an hourlong virtual training session between April 11-13, covering responsibilities, coordination and communication. These same team leaders will attend team leader check-in the morning of CSUnity on April 23 to receive CSUnity shirts, gloves, and snacks for fellow volunteers, along with further instruction.
Stephens, who participated several times in CSUnity as a student, explained that having in-person activities this year comes at a critical time as many older community members have been isolated, many nonprofits have been stretched to their limits, and students may be seeking further belonging on- and off-campus.
She added that the tradition will be new to many students on campus, while many faculty and staff and graduating students may remember this long-standing tradition. She said that she is looking forward to CSUnity being back as an anticipated CSU tradition, and again being an impactful community engagement program amongst fellow Rams and in the greater Fort Collins community.
“There has been a lot of loss and hardship during COVID, and we could all use a little boost of goodness that can come by participating in CSUnity,” Stephens said. “Ultimately, this program provides service to community members who need a little extra support, and by reconnecting Rams via a shared community service experience, we can all benefit.”
Become a volunteer
CSUnity 2022 is scheduled for Saturday, April 23, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Registration closes Friday, April 1. Participation is first-come, first-serve and not guaranteed. Find out more about CSUnity and register at csunity.colostate.edu.