It’s been said that a rising tide lifts all boats. For Fairmont State University’s Outdoor Recreation program, they know that they succeed by giving back and making a difference. Throughout the month of February, these students made an economic impact of more than $1,000 for work done at Coopers Rock State Forest and the Fairmont Soup Opera.
Recently, students helped at Coopers Rock Winterfest and the Fairmont Ice Bowl & Chili Cook-off. In the fall semester, students volunteered at a cliff habitat restoration and tree planting at Coopers Rock.
Adam Polinski, volunteer coordinator of the Coopers Rock Foundation, says “volunteers are the life-blood of our trail work and habitat restoration projects. We couldn’t do what we do without volunteers.”
Fairmont State’s Outdoor Recreation Leadership minor and the Explorers’ Club of Fairmont, the outdoor adventure club, use outdoor spaces for learning and enjoyment. Jan Kiger, Director of the Outdoor Recreation Leadership program, says, “I encourage all of the students in my outdoor recreation courses to give back to the community. I identify a couple of outdoor volunteer opportunities for students to choose from each semester. The best opportunities are related to outdoor recreation, take place close to campus and occur during the school term. Our minor and the club are both growing, but we don’t have enough volunteers for every event.”
As the students rise the volunteerism tide they are benefitting too. While volunteering they learn about teamwork, communication, problem solving and leadership. The students gain life-experience by giving back.
Jacoby Steele volunteered for the Fairmont Ice Bowl & Chili Cookoff and says, “Through this experience I was able to see the need for food at the local homeless shelters. Even though I am not affected by homelessness, I was able to be part of something bigger than myself.”
This story is part of Fairmont State’s ongoing Programs of Distinction series. We are proud of the many ways that our students, faculty, staff and alumni are impacting the world around us. Through these efforts, we all can soar!