The Upper Iowa University Civic Engagement program provides students with the opportunity to be involved in a variety of enriching, useful and practical experiences that serve the University and community.
Through Civic Engagement, students learn new skills, assume responsibilities, become aware of the needs of others and learn the importance of unselfish serving and giving.
Each student in Fayette involved in UIU clubs and student organizations is required to perform a minimum of 10 hours of community service each academic year.
List of Community Service Opportunities
Peacocks for Progress
Fayette Appreciation Day
Peacock 10-Hour Challenge
Alternative Spring Break
Upper Iowa University’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program is committed to encouraging volunteerism by students. The program places teams of college students in communities to engage in positive social action and education. The goals can range from increasing cultural awareness, to bringing academic learning to life, or to creating a life-long service ethic. ASB trips encourage participation by any UIU student, regardless of enrollment location.
In March 2013, Upper Iowa University hosted both a foreign and domestic Alternative Spring Break trip – Costa Rica and Boston, Mass.
A dozen UIU students and staff explored the many facets of a culture while in Costa Rica. They lived among the working class, worked with an indigenous tribe and enjoyed coastal tourist attractions.
The group volunteered at a local coffee plantation, reconstructing a bridge and painting the plantation’s logo on the side of the main building. While with the indigenous Bribri tribe, the group made and installed signs along the tribe’s medicinal plant walk.
A group of UIU students and staff helped build a new home for a family and volunteered in helping hundreds of terminally ill people get the proper nutrition they need during the Alternative Spring Break trip to Boston.
The group worked on a home with Habitat for Humanity Greater Boston, a charitable nonprofit organization dedicated to building simple low-cost homes for families in need. They also packaged and served meals with Community Servings, an organization that prepares and delivers 7,500 lunches and dinners each week to the homes of almost 800 individuals who are homebound with an acute life-threatening illness.
Alternative Spring Break trips have been a feature to UIU’s mission to provide service and learning to students since 2000. Sites for future trips cover a wide variety of locales. Past destinations included Georgia, Indiana, New Orleans, Arizona, South Carolina, Hawaii, Alaska, Kentucky and the country of Belize.
Visit the Flickr gallery
May term service opportunities are open to all members of the University community.
Since 2010, Upper Iowa University has provided a helping hand in the island nation of Haiti. Working with Partners In Development (PID), a group led by Dr. Eric Eller, UIU associate professor of international business, saw firsthand how the country was devastated by catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake killing 316,000 people and affecting three million more.
In 2011 and 2012, UIU groups assisted in hauling cement, making bricks and digging a foundation, while RN-BSN nursing students helped in the PID clinic. A big component to Upper Iowa’s involvement with PID is the organization’s child sponsorship program. This program, where a child can be sponsored for $30 per month until they reach the age of 18, really struck a chord with many in the University community. Currently, students and faculty sponsor 25 needy children and their families. Sponsorship allows a child to attend school, gives the family access to free health care, allows the parents to enroll in PID’s business classes to receive microloans, and puts the family on a waiting list of a new home.
Read the press release
Upper Iowa University partnered with Partners In Development for the inaugural trip to Guatemala led by Dr. Katrina Farren-Eller, UIU assistant professor of English, along with Gina Kuker, UIU associate professor of education and Dr. Bill Jones, assistant professor of biology.
Leading eight students, the UIU group assisted in building houses and present local families with water filtration systems to help villages reduce parasites in the water supply. Creating a partnership between PID-run schools and the student-teacher program at Upper Iowa University will also be explored.
Read the press release
Service Learning in Earth and Environmental Science courses
Upper Iowa University’s Earth and Environmental Science curriculum is particularly suited to involve students in service learning. Many students majoring in conservation management also engage in service learning through courses or for their senior project. In addition, some pre-service science teachers and other students interested in informal science education create projects in which they educate school children on science or environmental themes. The Science and Environment Club at UIU welcomes students from any major with an interest in the environment and has a decades-long history of active participation in river clean ups, highway roadside clean up, recycling and other similar efforts.
Within the last several years, students taking the Environmental Science GIS course have been involved in community mapping projecting including:
- Locating large items for removal during river clean up events;
- Mapping safe routes to school in Calmar, Iowa;
- Sidewalk mapping and improvement recommendations on the UIU campus in Fayette, Iowa;
- Mapping of ash trees to aid the City of Fayette Tree Board in planning for the loss of ash trees to the emerald ash borer insect;
- Developing an early proposal for a connector trail between Fayette and the trail systems of the Volga River Recreation Area and Echo Valley State Park.
- Students taking the ecology course and members of the UIU Science and Environment Club often participate in prescribed prairie burns and other events to promote native vegetation, restore wildlife habitat, or control invasive species.
- Students in hydrogeology have created posters to educate citizens on water quality concerns and serve as volunteer leaders in river clean-up projects on the Volga and Turkey Rivers.
In addition, students completing senior projects and theses have also carried out projects including:
- Water quality education;
- Water quality sampling;
- Volga River water trail design and proposals;
- Design and deployment of streamside containers for collecting fishing line, hooks and lead weights;
- Trumpeter swan habitat restoration;
- Assessment of habitat for birds, butterflies and fish;
- Forest tree surveys; and
- Testing invasive species control methods.