Service-learning trip to Twin Cities for 10 students at The U

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Ten students from The University of South Dakota traveled to Minneapolis, Minn., on behalf of the Center for Academic Engagement to assist organizations dedicated to alleviating homelessness.

Through various group activities and reflections during the service-learning trip, students learned about the need for affordable housing locally and nationally. “This trip was a great experience. It was a concrete way to look at issues discussed in school, such as poverty and homelessness,” said Joseph Mattson, a student from Sioux Falls.

USD students worked in Chaska, Minn., with Habitat for Humanity. An international organization operating in more than 90 countries, Habitat for Humanity provides homeowners with an opportunity to purchase a home at cost with no interest added to their mortgage. While working in Chaska, students added the finishing touches to four houses where they also had an opportunity to work alongside one of the future homeowners. Before returning to campus, students worked at Families Moving Forward, a temporary shelter in North Minneapolis. Students donated time by cleaning, moving furniture, picking up garbage and landscaping. The shelter is funded by private donations and partnering congregations. “This experience in the twin cities really changed my outlook on homelessness,” added Kayla Frank, also of Sioux Falls. “I was very surprised to see all the help that goes toward that cause.”

Student volunteers for CAE were Toni Barrera of Fremont, Neb., Jen Bodah and Justin Kloster of Brandon, S.D., Jes Colburn of Aurora, Neb., Thomas Emanuel of Deadwood, S.D., Jen Gieselman of Sioux City, Iowa, Martha Nickerson of St. Paul, Minn., Katie Raker of Grand Forks, N.D., and Frank and Mattson.