Students give back with Campus Day service

The long-held Campus Day tradition at Simpson College continued this year as nearly 600 students, faculty, staff, and alumni volunteered Wednesday both on campus and in the Indianola area.

While Simpson does stress the importance of service throughout the year, day off from classes offered a chance for students to provide that service for a full day.

“Dedicating one big day to service was something important for our campus community,” Lindsey Hunzelman, assistant director of student activities said. “It’s really a neat thing to bring everyone together to do something that has become one of the oldest traditions in our campus culture.”

This year’s Campus Day was organized by the Student Affairs committee, a subcommittee of the Student Government Association.

“I was in charge of contacting locations where volunteers will go,” sophomore SGA senator Macy Koch, said before the event. “I also organized what groups will go where on that day”.

This year, Simpson 62 teams registered for the event.

The day began in Pfeiffer, where the event kicked off with breakfast and announcements.

Students, faculty and staff completed a variety of service projects, such as cleaning up Lake Aquabi, volunteering at the Village and helping with work at Wesley Woods.

Many groups on campus have “claimed their territory” when it comes to Campus Day and do the same project each year. The football team went to Wesley Woods and the athletic trainers spent time at the Village, while many other groups like SGA, the Environmental Awareness Club and Sigma Alpha Epsilon spent time cleaning up adopted highways.

Some opportunities this year included helping residents in the Indianola community with yard work.

“The most exciting part of Campus Day was being on a team with your friends and having fun doing a service project,” senior Matt Olson, chair for the SGA student affairs committee, said.

Records show that the Campus Day tradition began in 1889 and has taken on a variety of forms throughout the years.

In 1911, students organized their own meeting the night before, confusing the faculty members the next morning when no one showed up. In 1932, a leaf fight broke out between classes, almost ending the tradition.

According to the college archives, Campus Day was vetoed by faculty in 1914. Students decided on Flunk Day instead and anyone going to classes was to be punished. Mr. Paul McDade, who broke the stipulation and attended astronomy class, received a type of hazing by students.

The 1921 & 1922, Student Handbook says that “Campus day (formerly called “Flunk Day”) is a holiday that comes along in the spring, about the time a young man’s fancy turns. The day must be bright and inviting; and when such a day is found, the Student Council declares it ‘Campus Day.'”

In 1925, the theme for this service day was “duty before pleasure.”

As for this year, Olson says that it is simply “a great way for students at Simpson to get involved in the Indianola community.”