Last month, 42 students from the ten universities that participate in El Pomar’s Student Leadership Experience gathered for their winter weekend retreat. During the retreat, students volunteered with the United Way of Larimer County to make care packages for victims of the High Park Fire; attended personal and professional development sessions that included taking the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment, and resume and interview skill building; and listened to a speech from nationally renowned speaker, author, and animal science expert Dr. Temple Grandin.
However, the portion of the retreat that carried the most weight and impact was when the scholars presented on their year-long projects. These projects were selected and designed by each university scholar group at the beginning of the academic year and consisted of conducting specific, tangible projects for local nonprofits.
Projects varied on a wide spectrum. For example, scholars at Metro State University worked with the Denver nonprofit Colorado Uplift to create an online database of scholarships at universities throughout Colorado, allowing prospective college students to search and filter eligibility requirements. Scholars at the United States Air Force Academy worked with Colorado Springs Together to help with sandbag placement to prevent mudslides as a result of the Waldo Canyon Fire, and worked on plans for a memorial event marking the one-year anniversary of the fire.
As the scholars presented on their projects, their excitement was apparent. They’d clearly gotten a lot out of the process.
And what did the community receive in return? To quantify this impact by assuming the median hourly income of an entry-level nonprofit employee and averaging the hours each scholar put into their project, they created an estimated impact of $30,282 this year alone.
All of the schools with their year-long project nonprofits are listed below:
Colorado State University – Fort Collins: Colorado Book Trust
Colorado State University – Pueblo: Latino Chamber of Commerce
Metro State University: Colorado Uplift
Regis University: SAME Café
University of Colorado – Boulder: Boulder County AIDS Project
University of Colorado – Colorado Springs: Colorado Springs Teen Court
University of Colorado - Denver: Harm Reduction Action Center
University of Denver: Junior Achievement
University of Northern Colorado: Global Refugee Center
United States Air Force Academy: Colorado Springs Together