Oct 31, 2013

AWOL students volunteer at Crow Creek and Yankton Sioux communities

VERMILLION, S.D. -- From Saturday, Oct. 26 to Sunday, Oct. 27, students participating in the University of South Dakota’s AWOL program traveled to the Crow Creek Indian Reservation in Fort Thompson, S.D. and the Yankton Sioux Indian Reservation in Wagner, S.D. and Marty, S.D. to perform service work in the communities. The students made this journey as participants of AWOL’s Alternative Weekend program, which is dedicated toward providing students with short-term, service-learning opportunities that focus on important local and regional issues.

The group that worked with the Yankton Sioux Indian Reservation split their time between Marty and Wagner learning about the jurisdiction issues that the Yankton Sioux Tribe faces as well as the poverty issues that are prevalent on the reservation. Participants dug potatoes from a community garden and performed maintenance at the local Boys and Girls Club gymnasium. Kendra Mulder of Canton, S.D., the group’s student site-leader, thought that the tribe was “very inviting” and told the students so much about their culture and everything they were doing within the communities of Wagner and Marty to create good relationships with non-tribe members

The group that traveled to Fort Thompson worked with the Dacotah Tipis Habitat for Humanity on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation.  Most of their time was spent on construction of the new Habitat for Humanity volunteer center, which, when finished, will allow Dacotah Tipis to increase their volunteer capacity and expand the number of services they provide for the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe population.

About the AWOL Program

Housed in the Center for Academic Engagement, the AWOL (Alternative Week of Off-campus Learning) student organization offers students the opportunity to perform valuable service in communities across South Dakota and the Nation through hands-on learning experiences.  Entering its ninth year on campus, the AWOL program hosts alternative breaks, alternative weekends, and national days of service.  The AWOL program encourages students to become active citizens through participation in immersive service-learning experiences that expose them to diverse social issues and provides them outlets for the post-trip application of their learning. More information is available at www.usd.edu/engage/service-learning/awol-alternative-breaks.cfm.

About The Center for Academic Engagement

USD’s Center for Academic Engagement was created as a central point of contact for students to find experiential learning information, including information about service-learning, undergraduate research, study abroad and off-campus academic experiences.  The office is also a place where faculty can receive support for integrating service-learning and other experiential activities into their courses.  Finally, the CAE acts as a general volunteer clearinghouse for Vermillion and the surrounding area.  For information on upcoming events, e-mail the CAE at engage@usd.edu or visit www.usd.edu/engage.

About The University of South Dakota
Founded in 1862, The University of South Dakota is designated as the only public liberal arts university in the state and is home to a comprehensive College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, the state's only School of Law, School of Medicine, the accredited Beacom School of Business and the College of Fine Arts. USD has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students taught by more than 400 faculty members. More information is available at www.usd.edu/press/news.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Peter Carrels
The University of South Dakota
(605) 216-1233
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