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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.


USD’s Center for Academic & Global Engagement (CAGE) gives students the chance to gain real-world experience and knowledge and connect with their community and the larger world. CAGE offers academically based opportunities that create skills employers and graduate schools seek. Among them: off-campus service-learning programs, studying abroad, student exchange, undergraduate research and nationally competitive awards and fellowships. CAGE also provides support to international students with cultural and academic adjustments as well as immigration concerns.


Housed in the Center for Academic Engagement and Global Engagement, AWOL (Alternative Week of Off-Campus Learning) offers students the opportunity to combine community service with education during academic breaks. Prior to departure, students participate in six weeks of educational training. By utilizing experiences and education, AWOL enables students to become active citizens whose community becomes a priority in their everyday life and provides them with avenues for continued community involvement and learning.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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.


Hanna DeLange
USD News