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“We originally came up with the idea to help students with items like clothing, but it shifted to personal hygiene products. Last year, we worked with McKinley Elementary. It was such a fun project to work on. This year we wanted to carry it forward and had a great partner in the Community Leadership Institute.”
Aaron Richard, member Roger Looyenga Leadership Program

University Communications

Essentials for Learning makes big impact

By Michael Linnell
University Communications Director
michael.linnell@minotstateu.edu

MINOT, N.D. – The Minot State University Roger Looyenga Leadership Program started a class assignment two years ago hoping to help the community.

Fast forward to this fall and the project, named Essentials for Learning, has done just that.

After partnering with the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce 2018 Community Leadership Institute (CLI) Class, the project raised nearly $10,000 in cash and items to fulfill the most basic needs for students in the Minot Public School System.

“We originally came up with the idea to help students with items like clothing, but it shifted to personal hygiene products,” said Minot State senior Aaron Richard. “Last year, we worked with McKinley Elementary. It was such a fun project to work on. This year we wanted to carry it forward and had a great partner in the Community Leadership Institute.”

“It has been an insane process to see it start with just one elementary school and watch it grow and see what it has become,” said MSU senior Alexa Tate. “We have such great community support. We were able to see the impact on McKinley and were excited to expand it. We know the kind of impact this has on a student’s life.”

Richard and Tate are two of the original six students — along with advisor Tawnya Bernsdorf — who brainstormed the project in the Roger Looyenga Leadership Program. After four students graduated, Richard and Tate knew they would need a partner to move the project forward.

“It takes a lot of community outreach to do something like this, so we wanted to have it move to a group that could build it for the future,” Richard said.

The Community Leadership Institute is a nine-week course offered through the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce to help 25 individuals understand what Minot has to offer. The CLI gathered deodorant, toothpaste, soap, socks, laundry soap, and more to help students concentrate on their education.

"This project was something that fit a different need then a ‘backpack buddies’ project. It’s done a lot more discretely,” Tate said. “The items are more personal.”

Along with the CLI, the Minot United Way was also a key partner for the project.

“The Minot United Way was a huge supporter of the project, they handled the cash donations and helped store the items,” Richard said. “They were a huge advocate and an awesome organization to work with.”

The process was an eye-opener for Richard.

“This was a need that I really didn’t know existed in Minot,” he said. “Growing up, I didn’t think that having soap to wash my hands was an issue, but there is a need and it has been great to see the community come out and support us – it was nice to see Minot come together for this project.

“The end goal is to have a sustainable program helping all of the students in the district.”

ABOUT MINOT STATE UNIVERSITY
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 12/04/18



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