Utah International Mountain Forum Service Project

Dirk Gum ( L ) brought donated clothes to the Road Home, a shelter for homeless people

In December 2019, the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU) held a clothing drive to benefit local men and women in need of professional clothing. All UVU student clubs are required to engage their communities in a service project. There are forms to fill out, dates that must be noted, and club admittaturs that oversee the process. After these requirements are met, you can carry out your service project. This year the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF) was honored to collect nice clothes for the homeless in hopes that these clothes could be used for the purpose of interviewing for employment.

            Every club must engage in a local service project each quarter to maintain their status as a club registered with UVU. This is allowing students the opportunity to organize complicated tasks, engage with other students and other members of our local communities, and provide a valuable service to those who may need it. This also allows club members to realize that club organizations are a form of civil society which are valued for their own sake. UIMF’s service projects also contribute to the implementation of United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for sustainable development by empowering students to gain the knowledge and skills needed to address both local and global sustainability issues related to poverty, urbanization, and other areas in a cooperative way with various stakeholders.

            There are forms for nearly every engagement that a club may want to pursue on and off campus. These forms can be found online at https://www.uvu.edu/clubs/info/forms.html or by web searching UVU and clubs. Scroll down and you will see an expansion window titled “Service Project Information” which will take you to the form that will need to be filled out. You MUST fill these requests out two weeks before you wish to conduct the project. It is recommended that you take it upon yourself to go to the club office because there may be certain requirements, such as cash handling, that can only be fulfilled in person. Calling and emails are recommended and are considered a formality in today’s professional environment.

            For this year’s UIMF Project, several members, including Michael Hinatsu, UIMF Vice President  and myself  collected clothing from local student housing apartment complexes. UIMF student members asked their peers for clothes that could be used for the purposes of interviewing. This will allow job seekers the opportunity to compete in the job market. Student peers were extremely responsive; they donated what they could, and many professional clothes were gathered. Some students were extremely charitable. For instance, a couple individuals, including Barbara Christiansen, a writer for the UVU Marketing and Communications Department, donated brand new clothes which will undoubtedly advance the current living conditions of someone in need. These clothes were donated directly to The Road Home 529 9th Ave, Midvale UT.

The Road Home is a shelter for men, families, and anyone who is in need. Unlike thrift stores and chains, The Road Home never sells their donations which means that you can be sure that your donations will go directly to benefit someone, as opposed to a thrift shopper. This is important because thrift stores, which can provide value to those in need, are often targeted by bargain shoppers, and this leaves a lower quality of clothes to those who may be in need. This means that when new clothes are donated, like the clothes donated by Christiansen mentioned above, these clothes will go directly to men, women, and children who have applied for assistance here locally in Utah.

            Though service projects are a requirement to maintain club membership at UVU, UIMF students were allowed the opportunity to be creative in helping address real issues to those in need locally. This required an in-depth engagement process of filling out paperwork, timing, and organizing with the administrations that oversee these projects. It is the express wish of the UIMF and its members to help those who live in mountain regions around the world and here at home in Utah. By providing services to those in need by researching where they are and how we can help them directly, we can make a real and meaningful difference for those in our communities.

Dirk Gum, UIMF member