University of Wyoming students can join more than 250 groups on campus, covering everything from Greek life to professional development. Some of these organizations work just as hard for the Laramie community as for their own college.
Two registered student organizations, or RSOs, were nominated for this year’s Awards of Excellence Community Service Award: the Wyoming Honors Organization and Alpha Kappa Psi-Beta Nu, which won the category.
“I’m really glad we won,” said Heather Baker, community service coordinator for the fraternity. “I think the members definitely deserve it.”
The professional business fraternity and the largest RSO on campus with 90 people doesn’t have a house and has more female members than male, but operates like any other fraternity.
“We hold our members to a certain standard, which includes community service,” President Seth Marlow said.
“But for us, it’s more of a cultural thing. We have a good group that is eager to help.”
Every year, dozens of members participate in the Big Event, where students go out to community members and businesses to perform various jobs and tasks. Relay for Life is also special to many members, Baker said.
“There is a big excitement to help the community — for example, people already have their required service points but still put in 10-12 hours at Relay for Life,” she said.
“I’ve heard people say time spent volunteering is kind of selfish because you feel so good afterwards.”
The Wyoming Honors Organization was also a nominee for the award — and for good reason, President Kelsi Wilbers said.
“Laramie is where the campus is based — to have a good campus, you need a good community surrounding it,” she said. “If you don’t have a good relationship, UW is never going to live up to its full potential.”
The Wyoming Honors Organization sets up an annual campus Easter egg hunt — its own event created for the entire community, Wilbers said.
“We’ve generally had over 1,000 people for the past 2-3 years,” she said. “It’s to make sure everyone in the community has an opportunity to have an Easter egg hunt, because we know some families here are unfortunate enough to not be able to put one on themselves. We want to make sure everyone gets a fair chance to get candy and play games and just have fun.”
Organizing such a large event is difficult for the group, even with its 60 members working together to find the $4,000 needed for the hunt.
“We start fundraising at the beginning of the fall semester and plan through the entire school year,” she said. “This year, we had about almost 2,500 people. It takes a lot of prep work.”
The Wyoming Honors Organization also hosts the Halloween Dance, the “self-proclaimed driest party on campus,” Wilbers said.
Students from both organizations also find time to help at the Laramie Soup Kitchen and the various summer events in downtown Laramie.
“Right now, we just reach out and find opportunities wherever we can,” Baker said. “We’re considering teaming up with one organization in the future, but right now we’ll jump on anything. The university is so large and it’s in such a small community — I think it’s important that college kids give back.”