By Meredith Maxwell

In today’s world, it’s just as important to say thank you through actions, not just words.

On Saturday, April 17, Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Community Engagement Office hosted the annual Maverick Day of Service, formally known as The Big Event, which promotes campus and community unity through various service-oriented activities.

With approximately 50 volunteers signed up, the 2021 day of service kicked off with a 9 a.m. check-in, where students could grab their free t-shirt and find their service teams. At 10 a.m., volunteers began their service projects, which included landscaping, painting, and packaging food at Rasmussen Woods, Laurels Edge, Harry Meyering Center, BENCHS, MVAC, and MSU-Mankato’s Campus Kitchen. Late arrivals could package laundry pod kits for local shelters and pantries or create handmade pieces for CardzForKids.

In a normal year, service opportunities would have been more extensive, but COVID-19 has limited how many volunteers agencies can take, if at all.

Photo by Meredith Maxwell - Ellie McDonald doing landscape work outside at MVAC.
Photo by Meredith Maxwell – Ellie McDonald doing landscape work outside at MVAC.

“Due to the pandemic, we have scaled back a bit,” said Karen Anderson, the Assistant Director for Community Engagement. “When we began planning for the 2021 day of service, not all agencies were able to take volunteers. That has changed over the months, and we are hopeful that next year we will be able to serve even more community agencies as people become vaccinated.”

I absolutely love the people I work with and the difference we were making around the community. We strive to include and care for everyone, and it’s a beautiful thing to witness. Leah Peterson

To help Anderson lead the day, the Mavs in Action student leaders, who strive to create change on campus and in the community, stepped up and took a share of the day’s responsibilities, as well as participated in them. Leah Peterson, a junior at MSU-Mankato studying Communication Sciences and Disorders, has been a member of Mavs in Action since the spring of 2020 and is now the co-vice president.

“I decided to become a student leader for many reasons,” Peterson said. “However, the main reason was that I absolutely love the people I work with and the difference we were making around the community. We strive to include and care for everyone, and it’s a beautiful thing to witness.”

Photo by Meredith Maxwell - Mavs in Action student leaders handing out free t-shirts during check-in.
Photo by Meredith Maxwell – Mavs in Action student leaders handing out free t-shirts during check-in.

The Mavs in Action student leaders and student volunteers returned to campus at noon for free entertainment by Garrett and Avery the Duo, lunch, and at-home COVID-19 tests. Having been one of the first CEO in-person events due to the pandemic, it went better than all could hope.

“We are fortunate that we got to participate this year despite being in a pandemic,” Peterson said. “All of our volunteers did amazing work, and we couldn’t be more proud.”

Submitted Photo - MankatoLIFE Author, Meredith Maxwell with her Day of Service lunch and t-shirt.
Submitted Photo – MankatoLIFE Author, Meredith Maxwell with her Day of Service lunch and t-shirt.

Author

  • Meredith Maxwell

    is an undergraduate student at MSU-Mankato, studying mass media. She grew up in Winona, Minnesota, with her mom and two brothers and now lives in Mankato full time.

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