Despite cold and rainy weather, student volunteers from Colorado State University’s Department of Construction Management teamed with Haselden Construction and Extreme Community Makeover (ECM) to give some much-needed care to Denver’s Swansea neighborhood last month.
ECM, the organizer of the event, is a Denver-based service organization that looks to give back to the surrounding residential areas through community partnerships and volunteer work efforts.
A joint effort
Von Owen, a senior CM student and intern for Haselden Construction, enlisted the help of fellow students for the volunteer project. Fortunately for Owen, he was in the perfect major to find the workers he needed.
“I brought some students from CSU who wanted to get involved,” Owen said. “I reached out to people in CM and organizations outside of CM like the ROTC and CSU’s branch of the Lions Club to get the hands we needed. It’s nice to have volunteers like this come and help do a little community service work.”
The 16 CSU volunteers joined more than 140 people working in the Swansea neighborhood, including volunteers from ECM and Haselden Construction, a Centennial-based building contractor that completed several new CSU buildings, including the Biology and Chemistry buildings and Scott Bioengineering Building.
Working in Swansea
The Swansea neighborhood is one of Denver’s oldest and borders the National Western Complex. Haselden and ECM took to the streets and asked residents on what they could do to help.
“Extreme Community Makeover put us together because both CSU and Haselden have worked with them before,” Haselden’s Director of Corporate Marketing Tracy Mathieu said. “A lot of the things the volunteers do involve yard work, fencing, painting, neighborhood graffiti removal and whatever the homeowners need.”
Mathieu also remarked that a number of Haselden’s volunteers are CSU alumni, with many being former CM majors.
One such individual was Orion Hayes, a Lions Club volunteer and recent graduate from the CM program. Hayes found the most value to come from the impact the team had on the lives of the people in the neighborhood.
“When the house owner returned from the store, she was almost in tears,” Hayes said. “She said, ‘I’ve never seen my house like this before.’ She was just happy to see everyone coming to help her get everything done.”
To find out more or to volunteer with ECM, visit its website.
CSU and the National Western Center
Colorado State University has made a long-term commitment to the reimagining of the National Western Center in North Denver, and the communities surrounding the project. Efforts are under way to create partnerships with community schools, nonprofits and businesses, and to actively engage in the community.
A key and founding partner in the National Western Center, CSU will have three buildings within the 250-acre campus upon completion. The project, which will break ground in the coming years, expands and regenerates the current National Western Stock Show site, turning it into a vibrant, year-round experiential, community-centric, life-long learning destination in the heart of Denver.
As Colorado’s land-grant university, CSU’s mission of research, service and access fits with the outreach mission of the National Western Center. CSU’s plans at the new campus focus on research and education programming in the areas of food systems, water, environment, energy and health. The university has initiated programming and service outreach efforts before buildings are constructed, as part of its commitment to the area. For additional information, visit nwc.colostate.edu.