LARAMIE, Wyo. -
University of Wyoming freshmen student-athletes are beginning the Holiday season by giving back to the Laramie community through a community service project they named “Team Up 2 Warm Up”. The project came about when the students were challenged in their E.P.I.C Leadership class to find a way to put the leadership skills they’ve learned this semester to work in their community.
UW Associate Professor Dr. Deborah McGriff teaches the class, which is designed to teach habits and attitudes of effective leadership. This semester, 23 Cowboy and Cowgirl freshmen student-athletes are taking the class that is designed to fulfill the requirements of a first-year seminar.
The class members came up with the idea of collecting winter clothing, including coats, hats and gloves to donate back to the community. They partnered with Interfaith Good Samaritan in Laramie to distribute the clothing to people in need.
Their project culminated on Tuesday, Dec. 1, which was National Giving Day, when the student-athletes delivered 340 coats and other items of winter clothing to Interfaith Good Samaritan.
“I am really proud of how the students stepped up to the challenge and were able to really make a difference in the lives of some of the members of the community,” said McGriff. “I hope that this project will encourage them to continue to reach out and be engaged in the local community.”
Class members have been working on the project for several weeks. They began by splitting into six different committees: Planning, Advertising, Box, Permissions, Community Contact, and Distribution. After their initial phases of planning and advertising, members of the permission committee went out in the Laramie community to ask local businesses and organizations if they would give permission to put collection boxes in their places of business.
Among the local businesses and organizations that participated were: Ridley’s Family Market, St. Paul’s Newman Center Parish, Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Indian Paintbrush Elementary School, Slade Elementary School, Laramie Junior High School, Laramie Senior High School, the UW Lab School, the UW College of Education, UW’s Ross Hall and the Wyoming Union.
The E.P.I.C. acronym stands for Experiential, Participatory, Image-Driven and Connected. The class is based on the beliefs that: every student is a leader, becoming a leader is a process, students learn best in communities where they can participate and have a voice.
“The E.P.I.C. Leadership class is designed to teach habits and attitudes of effective leadership,” said McGriff. “It is also designed to give students an understanding of what it means to think and act like a leader no matter what their role is in an organization, group or community.
“The goals of this particular project were to: identify a need in the community and develop a plan to address that need; help the students become familiar with Laramie beyond the university campus: and demonstrate their leadership skills of planning, dealing with conflict, motivating self and others, working as a team, communication, time management and commitment.”