Sep 302009

By Barb Arland-Fye

Fifteen students from St. Ambrose University lightened the workload for maintenance staff at Diocese of Davenport headquarters through the university-sponsored “Bee the Difference Day” Sept. 27.

The students were among approximately 250 of their peers who volunteered that day by helping St. Ambrose neighbors with various clean-up projects.

Diocesan Maintenance Supervisor Dave Wolfe said students helped clear out the third floor and basement of diocesan headquarters, which is located in the St. Vincent Center in Davenport.

They moved old desks, filing cabinets, exercise bikes and other items that have been collecting dust. Many of those items will be recycled, with the help of Habitat ReStore, as part of the diocese’s effort to observe environmentally friendly practices.

“They did so much, and with no complaints,” Wolfe said. “The work they did would have taken us months to do.”

Msgr. John Hyland, the diocese’s vicar general, witnessed the volunteers in action. He said he was so impressed by how hard the students worked that he sent a note of thanks to St. Ambrose University President Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ.

“Bee the Difference Day is an annual event and is just a way of reaching out to neighbors and caring for the folks who live around us,” said Jane Kettering, the university’s spokesperson. “It’s another way of welcoming and cementing relationships.”

Lisa Wiggers, a senior at St. Ambrose who serves as community chair for the Student Government Association, organized this year’s event.

“I think it went really well. It looks like we had more neighbors signed up than last year and more students volunteering,” she said.

Flyers were sent out to neighbors in early September, inviting them to request help with various indoor and outdoor projects. About 33 neighbors, diocesan headquarters and Project Renewal were recipients of the volunteer effort, she said. Approximately 250 of the 300 volunteers who signed up participated.

Most of the projects were outdoors. “A lot of (students) came back pretty dirty from helping clean out gutters,” Wiggers said. Other projects included painting a garage and helping to replant hostas.

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