SERVE Local offers a variety of options



JSC and local community members move and stack wood for the United Way of Lamoille County Firewood Project as part of the college's "SERVE Local" program, which sponsors local service opportunities during the academic year.

Nine Johnson State Students participated in The United Way’s annual Firewood Program on Sept. 14 through Johnson’s SERVE Local Project.

The United Way’s Firewood Project, which according to former Johnson Environmental Science Graduate and Coordinator for RSVP (Retired Seniors Volunteer Program) Dan Noyes, has, since 2008 has provided firewood for 220 families.

Families in need normally get one or two cords of wood to supplement their oil furnaces. The wood for this project comes from a combined effort between LIHEAP (Low Income Energy Assistance Program) and The Vermont department of Forest and Parks. Vermont Forest and Parks works to choose trees in Vermont State forests that can be cut down and brought to the Firewood Project.

Johnson students, including five women from Johnson’s basketball team, worked with 12 other volunteers to stack cords of wood onto pallets, and carry wood around the location, which was in a lot next to Hannaford’s in Morrisville.

“Being warm and comfortable in your own home is something that should be a basic thing everyone should have,” said JSC junior Jessica Peterson, “I think it’s really great that people are trying to make that happen.”

When asked if she plans on participating in more SERVE Local projects Peterson says she hopes to participate in all the SERVE Local projects she can.

This year SERVE Local has had a few projects including helping Laraway clean up its garden, assisting at the regularly scheduled Community Meals in the village, and the Lamoille River Clean Up, which partnered with an Outdoor Education class to remove many bags of trash from the Lamoille River, and the planting of three mature apple trees at Lower Pond.

According to Samantha Flint, a graduate student in the education program, and this year’s graduate assistant to SERVE, there are more events planned.

SERVE Local has the hike for hunger on Sept. 28 and after October break there will be NCAL (North Country Animal League) training with the humane society on Oct. 18. This is followed by the Rail Trail cleanup on Oct. 25 and soon after, before Thanksgiving, SERVE Local will have the Oxfam hunger banquet, during which participants can sort food for Thanksgiving baskets.

Flint notes that her office has been more focused on getting the word out, with portal and posters to engage more students in SERVE Local, pointing out that there is a variety of activities to attract everyone. “If somebody is interested in something and we don’t have an event, they can come talk to me and I can hook them up with the resources. We can work to plan something to offer to the whole campus,” she said. “So we’re really flexible on what kind of opportunities we offer.”

Serve Local is located in Stearns Student Center, room 408.