College staff embraced volunteer day, ready to make it annual occasion

Mar 6, 2014 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Employees at Central Wyoming College are excited about a potential new tradition for staff development day.

The idea was initiated last month, when employees participated in volunteer work in lieu of meetings or guest speakers for staff development day Feb. 14.

"We went out in the community and did some community service projects," said Connie Nyberg, president of the professional personnel association at CWC. "Some of those things were done in Dubois, Lander, Riverton, Shoshoni --all over our area."

On the Riverton campus, Nyberg was part of a group that created nine or 10 patterns for Quilts of Valor, a group that sends homemade quilts to service members throughout the United States. Others in town visited the Riverton Animal Adoption Center and Community Entry Services. Women's basketball coach Serol Stauffenberg was among those participating in that project.

"I think it was really valuable," Nyberg told the CWC Board of Trustees. "I'm not sure if people anticipated ahead of time how much value they'd get out of that. But I think it was really exciting and something I hope we'll continue to do."

She hasn't heard enough feedback yet from her staff to determine whether the volunteer day should be repeated, but faculty association president Matt Herr said he's sure the idea would be well received by his peers if it were suggested again.

Herr worked with a group on South Pass during the volunteer push last month, helping shovel snow for the Lander Middle School Nordic Ski Race at the Beaver Creek ski trail.

"I see staff development day has been changed," he told the board. "Feedback from every single person who participated was tremendously positive. ... If it doesn't change, I'll push for staff development day to be changed."

He commended theater professor Mike Myers for spearheading the project, but Herr also recommended a few modifications. For example, he said CWC could do a better job of communicating with residents who may have ideas for service projects at their homes or throughout the county.

"The community doesn't know how to respond to our request," Herr said. "We need to find out how (to communicate with them)."

Residents who did know about the project were grateful for the help on Valentine's Day. One Lander woman, Cheryl Fuechsel, said she felt blessed when two students --Laura Blankenship and Dustin Newman --helped her install protective skirting on the recreational vehicle she lives in.

"I don't have to tell anyone how cold it can get in a 1978 Winnebago in the Wyoming wind and winter," Fuechsel said online. "These two young adults ... came out on their own free time and did the best job on my skirting."

She said the students refused compensation, though they let her make them hot chocolate and lunch.

"They used their own tools, their own gas to get out here (40 miles) and their own precious time," Fuechsel said. "I just think they should be publicly acknowledged for their generous spirits and hard work ethics. Thank you, CWC, for a great project and service to our communities."

Staff development day is scheduled for May 12 next year, along with a mandatory training session.

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