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Students unite to help Colorado flood victims

On Oct. 20, just a few weeks before fall finals, 10 DU undergraduate students volunteered their time to help victims of the September floods that devastated many areas in northern Colorado. Partnered with the nonprofit organization All Hands Volunteers,  the students helped in Greeley and Kersey, Colo.

Representatives from the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) included Katrina Yoshida, Arimus Wells, Angela Ianniello, Cameron Hickert and Alyssa Higgins. Members of the Sigma Chi Fraternity also joined the effort.

“When we first step onto campus, we are taught that DU is a private university dedicated to the public good. I want to live up to that,” says Wells, a sophomore majoring in public policy and history and secretary of community partnerships for the USG.

One devastated property was a farm in Kersey, Colo. The owner’s house was moldy and uninhabitable and needed to be rebuilt. The DU undergraduates worked side by side with the 80-year-old farmer and other volunteers to clean up.

“We could not give this man back the things he had lost, but we could show that he was not alone and that someone cared,” says Ianniello, a senior international studies major and secretary of inclusive excellence for the USG.

The students spent hours clearing debris and fixing fences on the property. They worked as a community to learn what was needed, providing service and encouragement.

“There is something powerfully supportive when you are working alongside people affected by these types of events,” says Hickert, a sophomore physics major  and the USG’s communications chair.

The USG members intend to pursue more volunteer work in the future, emphasizing the importance and power of community service. They hope to be frontrunners in these issues and influence the entire student body of DU.

“My years on campus have instilled the Pioneer spirit in me, and this spirit demands us to look beyond ourselves to see the needs of others and to do what we can,”  Ianniello says.

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