SAU Buzz

SAU comes to the community with Urban Plunge

by Haley Rhoads
Posted on Sep 13, 2019

First-year students at St. Ambrose had a much different start to college than many others. Rather than hanging out with new friends and exploring campus, SAU first years headed off to serve the Quad Cities community.

On August 19, the first-year students departed to different areas throughout the Quad Cities for service work. Service is a core part of St. Ambrose's mission and is a fundamental part of the students' experience.

Jason Richter, SAU director of student engagement, was in charge of coordinating the event this year.

"We do this event to cement the students in the mission of the university," Richter said. "I communicated with agencies to make sure they had enough work for the number of students we were sending out there and to make sure they were ready."

Richter, as well as other individuals within SAU's Campus Ministry, worked to coordinate all the sites for Urban Plunge.

This year, almost 530 students attended the event and were spread out among almost 21 different sites throughout the Quad Cities area.

"The service varies in different areas throughout the community," Richter said. "Some pull weeds, paint, get classrooms ready for school or various other projects."

The groups of students served areas such as Vander Veer Botanical Park, CASI and Hilltop. Students were transferred to the work sites by bus, or if close enough, walked to their location.

This year, the weather allowed for a great day of service.

Richter said this event not only benefits the community, but it also gives students an opportunity to bond with others in their class. This opportunity offers plenty of time for new students to get to know one another before they become busy with classes and various activities. It also gives them the chance to have more in-depth conversations.

"I think this opportunity gives students a chance to really bond with one another," Hillary Winkel, junior peer assistant, said.

One freshman at St. Ambrose, Mallory Dugan, went to CASI, which is a service center for active seniors. She was able to sit with patients that have dementia and visit with them for the day. The experience helped her feel more comfortable with those in her class and become more comfortable with the Quad Cities area, she said.

Urban Plunge has been an event at St. Ambrose for 14 years and is expected to be around for many more first-year students to come.