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UWyo Magazine
University of Wyoming
Dept. 3226
1000 East University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Phone: 307-766-2379
TTY: 307-766-6729
Email: uwyomag@uwyo.edu

UWyo Magazine

January 2016 | Vol. 17, No. 2

New Era of Science

Each summer, members of the Wyoming Conservation Corps complete projects on public lands throughout Wyoming. Photo by WCC/BHP Imaging

Service, Leadership & Community Engagement - continued

Atwood, who volunteers at the Big Event, as well as through Alternative Breaks, Spooky Sprint and other SLCE events, says that the best rewards are great conversations with those they serve and with fellow volunteers. “I plan to continue my service work beyond my UW career,” he says. “The reason I chose my major is to eventually be in a position where I can care for people all the time, as either a medical doctor or a nurse practitioner.”

English secondary education senior Danielle Wood of Nederland, Colo., agrees that getting to know people is one of the best parts of volunteering. Among other things, Wood has participated in the Big Event, Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service and Alternative Breaks. “Doing service is important to me because without it, I would have never been forced to step outside of my day-to-day routine to participate in something larger than myself. It has allowed me to grow with the understanding that we are all in this together.”

Like Atwood, she plans to carry her service work into her career: “Having numerous service opportunities here at UW has inspired me to be a service leader in my future career as a teacher. I want to make sure that I not only serve my students but give back to the school and local community.”

SLCE’s First Year Institute, a student-led leadership retreat, helps engage students from the beginning. “I’ve only been here for a year, but I made it a goal to make service and volunteering one of the main focal points of my experience,” says sophomore Donatellia Austin, a humanities and fine arts major from Cheyenne, Wyo., who participated in the institute. “After that, I got involved with SLCE, participating in the Big Event, the Good Mule Project, Women’s Leadership Conference, Martin Luther King Days of Dialogue and all of the national days of service.

“I am motivated to volunteer because I find a lot of joy in it,” she says. “Service is something that, when you put a lot of heart into it and you expect not a reward but a feeling of achievement and community, it’s better than getting paid.”

Wyoming Conservation Corps

Since 2006, UW is home to the Wyoming Conservation Corps (WCC), an AmeriCorps-supported program in which students receive college credit through UW while carrying out service work on Wyoming’s public lands each summer.

In 2015 alone, students completed nearly 20,000 hours of public service, including 25 miles of trail work, 20 miles of fencing, 10 square miles of noxious weed removal, more than 1,000 pine beetle-killed trees removed, more than 50 staircases built, 500 junipers removed to promote prime sage grouse habitat and four bridges built.

While the program accepts members from around the nation, 83 percent were UW students last year. The students learn technical and interpersonal skills, both in the classroom and on 10-day job stints around the state. They also receive industry-recognized certifications in such things as Wilderness First Responder, Wildland Fire Chainsaw and Leave No Trace. Working 10-hour days of hard labor, they earn a living stipend as well as a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award for educational expenses. But the greatest value comes in real-world skills and experience.

Student Amanda Harper, of Birmingham, Ala., came to UW to earn her master’s degree in sociology and environment and natural resources. She hopes to one day have a federal career using the skills she learned. “WCC provides the next generation’s workforce with hands-on experience so that the people who are going to be the managers coming down the line are getting field experience and getting to see the issues they’ll have to deal with when they’re land managers,” she says.


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The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of the University of Wyoming

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UWyo Magazine
University of Wyoming
Dept. 3226
1000 East University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Phone: 307-766-2379
TTY: 307-766-6729
Email: uwyomag@uwyo.edu

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