Alumni, students volunteer in Denver in May

by Kate Wall


Simpson alumni living in the Denver area will be assisting current students with a service project during this year’s May Term class “The Call of Service.”

The class will be taught by Jim Hayes, the assistant program director of the Lilly Initiative for Vocational Exploration.

“We are having a bunch of Simpson alumni join us on [May 13], so it will be both alumni and our students from our class working together,” said Hayes. “Then some generous alumni are hosting us that night for a gathering, so the alumni can kind of get to know what Simpson students are about.”

According to Hayes, the decision to incorporate alumni into a class service project was a combined effort.

“Chris Goodale who runs [College] Advancement and Coreen Witke in Alumni Relations – the three of us worked together and [thought] ‘wouldn’t it be a great thing having an alumni gathering around something like this?'” Hayes said.

Director of Alumni Relations Coreen Witke said this event is a good way for students to see Simpson as a lifelong relationship.

“With this service project, it has a definite Campus Day feel to it and Campus Day is the one tradition that we have that all alumni can relate to,” Witke said. “We’ve toyed with the idea for a while of doing Campus Day projects in our metropolitan areas where a number of alumni live and we just haven’t done it yet, so this seems like a good opportunity to test out the idea.”

Hayes also said he wanted to take the class to Denver because the location fit the objectives of the class.

“It’s part of my job description that I teach this class,” Hayes said. “I wanted to make it exotic enough that students would sign up for it. I wanted Denver because of the third component of [the class]. We do direct study on campus the first week, we do direct service in inner-city Denver, and we do a retreat – a few days of reflection in the mountains.”

Many students who are taking the class are doing so because of the service opportunities.

“I thought it would be a good first May Term because I love to travel but it was a smaller trip and it is involved with service,” freshman Ali Jepsen said. “I feel like I haven’t gotten to do enough this year. I’m big with helping with the poor in the area – I think one of the main things we should be doing is working in soup kitchens and those kinds of establishments.”

Jepsen also said working with alumni will be a good experience.

“It’s really great they are still willing to work with students,” Jepsen said

Similar to Jepsen, freshman Jessica Paulsen is open to any kind of service project to work on.

“I don’t think I have a specific [service project to work on],” Paulsen said. “I’m really open because this entire year has been a learning experience of new things for me and so doing something that is totally new to me will be really interesting.”