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Students recognized for contributions to community

Published May 22, 2012

During the 2011-12 academic year, NDSU students logged more than 51,000 volunteer hours and raised approximately $117,000 for local and national nonprofit organizations.

The third annual Bison Service Challenge ceremony, held May 3 in the Memorial Union, recognized the students’ outstanding philanthropic efforts. During the event, an individual student and eight student groups were recognized for recording the most service hours through the Volunteer Network on campus. The honorees received an award and grant dollars from the Dakota Medical Foundation to present to a nonprofit organization of their choice.

Melissa Fleck, a junior majoring in human development and family science from Bowman, N.D., received the individual Sarah Martinsen Award for her exceptional commitment to service. The award pays tribute to Martinsen, who died while on a Pay It Forward tour in 2010.

Fleck estimates she spent more than 350 hours volunteering, primarily at the YWCA Women’s Emergency Shelter. “I love to volunteer because I feel like it is such a great learning experience,” Fleck said. “I also have witnessed violence in my life and I feel like my contribution to the women’s shelter helps me heal myself as well as others.”

Fleck presented her $1,000 cash award to the YWCA. “I feel like the YWCA always uses the money they receive in the best way possible and that is why I chose them,” she said. “I also feel so passionate about helping victims of violence and I know that money will go far to help families in the Fargo/Moorhead community.” She also received a $500 scholarship from the Martinsen family.

The student group awards are divided into four categories – Greek life, residence halls, student organizations and athletics. The top two groups with the most volunteer hours in each category are recognized and awarded $700 and $300, respectively.

The winning groups, along with their chosen nonprofits, are listed below:


           Men’s Track and Field – Churches United for the Homeless
           Women’s Basketball – Ronald McDonald House

Greek life       

           Kappa Alpha Theta – Red River Children’s Advocacy Center
           Alpha Gamma Delta – N.D. Caring Foundation

Residence life

          Churchill – YWCA
           Weible – Rape and Abuse Crisis Center

Student organizations

           Blue Key – Churches United for the Homeless
           Lions Club – The American Diabetes Association

Matthew Skoy, assistant director for service learning and civic engagement at NDSU, enjoys seeing students reach out to the community. “Volunt eering is important because it provides students an opportunity to give back to the community and feel part of something bigger than themselves,” he said.

The Bison Service Challenge is an NDSU Memorial Union program developed in 2009 to promote civic engagement through service. Additional sponsors include the Dakota Medical Foundation, Impact Foundation and FirstLink.


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North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-1068 - Fax: (701) 231-1989
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Last Updated: Thursday, August 08, 2013 8:33:23 AM