BISMARCK, ND—University of Mary students, faculty and staff are hardy souls. They let nothing get in their way—including wind, rain, sleet, or dare we say, snow—when it comes to serving others first. That’s especially true when it involves the state’s largest one-day volunteer event, the 5thannual Day of Service. The day calls for cooler than normal temperatures and a chance of all of the above.

This year, a record-breaking 1,200 to 1,500 volunteers are expected to converge on the Capital City to help give back to a community that has given so much to the university. University of Mary’s student-organized and -run Day of Service looks to be just as exciting and worldwide in scope with volunteers taking part in this event from afar at Mary’s campuses in Fargo, Billings and Rome, Italy.

The student coordinating it all is Kayzanne Sibla, a Communication Sciences and Disorders major from Bismarck. She understands the significance of this event goes far beyond a single day or a single act of kindness.

“It is a day that unites campus as students serve alongside others who they may not otherwise have interactions with, such as a student in a different major, staff, faculty, administration, and alumni, said Sibla. “Altogether, each participant is able to play a crucial role in making a change, even when doing a small task. The University of Mary teaches and holds the values of community and servant leadership, which is at the core of the Day of Service.”

Sibla carries the torch that has been passed on by student leaders of the past, including her sister, Courtney, who was one of the student founders of the event.

“Personally, the Day of Service is a day that has been close to my heart since its creation, because of my sister, Courtney Sibla, who was a part of its creation,” added Sibla. “Being able to help students make connections with the community allows the impact to go beyond just one day. This makes every phone call and second put towards the day worth it because it allows someone else to use their abilities and talents to help the Bismarck-Mandan community. As students move into their future endeavors, the Day of Service is often a favorite memory of their college experience. The day not only makes an impact on the community, but allows each and every student to cherish the memories and lifelong lessons they will take with them in whatever career path they choose.”

The event begins Wednesday, Oct. 10 with a prayer service and rally at 8 a.m. in the McDowell Activity Center (MAC) before buses load up at 9:15 a.m.As part of the new Vision 2030 Campaign, University of Mary’s student body recommitted itself to becoming servant leaders of moral courage, providing a culture grounded in service, fostering a great capacity to pour themselves out in loving service to others. The new, campus-wide Day of Service campaign that began in 2014 answers that pledge.

Many entities across Bismarck-Mandan have been impacted over the years as it has grown to this massive undertaking. It’s amazing what hundreds of helping hands can do in a day’s time. The number of tasks that have been tackled by the University of Mary Day of Service volunteers since it began three years ago are staggering and run the gamut: shoveling tons of debris at an empty school in Mandan; database entry at a grade school, installing fence at a national park; zoo cleanup; apple picking for a world apple bobbing record; tree wrapping to protect from winter critters; cleaned ditches from campus to the Capitol; ecumenical cleanup at Trinity Lutheran and prepared meals for those underserved, to name just a handful. There isn’t much they haven’t done or can’t do.

Serving others is a big part of the University of Mary’s mission since being founded in 1959 by the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery. Mary’s students take part in hundreds of service projects every year—from helping with homeless shelters in North Dakota to providing medical assistance in Guatemala and Peru.

With University of Mary classes cancelled for this annual event, students, faculty and staff will spread out to over 50 service projects ranging from helping build a shed and fence, carpet cleaning at Gateway to Science, serving breakfast at Ministry on the Margins, cleaning and grounds keeping at many churches, nursing and assisted living facilities, and preparing the ski trails for winter at Huff Hills, to name just a few.

Day of Service Schedule

8 a.m. – 9 a.m.  McDowell Activity Center (MAC) Prayer service, convocation and University of Mary Vocal Jazz with keynote speaker Jerome Richter, University of Mary vice president for Public Affairs—Volunteers receive T-shirts

9:15 – 9:30a.m. (Outside MAC) Buses load for morning service projects

9:30a.m.(Outside MAC) Buses depart

10 – NoonMorning service projects begin

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Outside of MAC) Lunch provided by Dakota Community Bank

12:15 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. (Outside MAC)Buses load for afternoon projects

12:30p.m.(Outside MAC) Buses depart

1–3p.m.Afternoon service projects begin

4:30p.m.(Our Lady of the Annunciation Chapel) All University Liturgy

5:30 – 6:45p.m.(Crow’s Nest) Coronation Meal

7 p.m.(Founders Hall) Day of Service and Coronation Celebration