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Bulldog Beginnings

Students carry supplies for trail repair at the Hartley Nature Center
March 25, 2020

Student initiative named ACUI 2020 Outstanding Service Project of the Year.

The Seminar Service Project, a student leadership initiative coordinated by Kirby Student Center staff, was recently named the 2020 Outstanding Service Project of the Year by the Association of College Unions International (ACUI). The initiative was a part of the 2019 Bulldog Beginnings program. 

UMD freshmen repaired hiking trails as part of the Bulldog Beginnings program.

UMD freshmen repaired hiking trails as part of the Bulldog Beginnings program.

A second honor, this one from NODA, the Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in Higher Education, was also awarded to Bulldog Beginnings. The program received NODA's Region V Innovative Program Award.

UMD’s incoming class of 2019 started making a strong impact on our community before classes even began during the Bulldog Welcome Week program. The program evolved from discussions on how to improve retention at UMD while focusing on student engagement, specifically during new students first days on campus.

The Bulldog Beginnings Seminar Service Project brought together more than 1,200 students, 50 student leaders, and 40 faculty/staff engaged in more than 30 service projects scattered across Duluth, Minn. and the greater Twin Ports region as part of the Seminar Service Project. Emily Borra, UMD Kirby Student Center staff member, coordinated the efforts.
The sites included:
  • UMD Land Lab, where students performed basic farming maintenance and learned about sustainable farming practices
  • Hartley Nature Trail, where students repaired parts of hiking trails that had been washed out by flooding.
  • Boys & Girls Club of Lincoln Park, where students cleaned and prepared a new sensory zone for youth
  • Duluth Children’s Museum, where students painted, cleaned, and helped prepare a new facility to be opened
  • Lakewood Elementary School, where students cleaned debris from a beaver dam blocking access to the school's outdoor forest laboratory
  • Northern Minnesota Red Cross, where students wrote over 500 “Holiday Mail for Heroes” cards.

An International Award

The Outstanding Service Project of the Year award recognizes an exceptional campus program that has made significant contributions to its community through service projects and a commitment to helping others. This rewards a campus for its dedication to being a leader in supporting community needs. 

Founded in 1914, ACUI is a nonprofit educational organization that brings together college union and student activities professionals from more than 500 colleges and universities in seven countries.

About the UMD Kirby Student Center

See a video about the Hartley Nature Trail repairs.