Giving Back to the Community: Opportunities for Service for SUU Students

The Community Engagement Center at Southern Utah University offers a variety of service activities for students and staff to participate in weekly. 

Pam Branin, the associate director at the CEC, said that by providing service to those in need, students can develop communication skills, get involved with the community and make new friends. 

“The big takeaway is that regardless of what students major in or what their G.P.A is, when they graduate, they will be a community member some place,” Branin said. “Being involved with the CEC is a good way to practice being a good, responsible, contributing citizen.”

By working with diverse populations and people in the community, Branin noted that these service opportunities are a great way to explore potential career paths, such as becoming an elementary teacher and working with children. 

“It’s a good way to develop quality skills for students’ resumes and have experiences to record. As students leave SUU for careers or graduate programs, they’ll be competing against other students who have the same kinds of degrees,” Branin said. “But doing something more, like coming and getting involved with service, is a good way to set them apart by getting hands on, real-world experience.”

Community Literacy Event – Dr. Seuss Birthday Party – March 16

Volunteers are needed tonight from 3:30-7 p.m. at the Cedar City Library in the park. Although the event only runs from 4:30-6:30 p.m., help will be needed for set up and clean up. 

The CEC has participated in this event for several years, as the National Education Association encourages schools and organizations interested in child literacy to celebrate a National Read Across America Day each year.

“It’s usually held in conjunction with Dr. Seuss’s birthday since he’s such an iconic children’s author,” Branin said. 

Student volunteers with help hand out books and activity kits to children and families to encourage kids to get excited about reading. 

“It’s a fun way to celebrate reading and encourage kids to read. We work closely with the public library, and the goal of the event is to get families to the library and to get a book in the hands of children,” Branin said. “Research shows that children who have a book in their home tend to be better readers.”

HOPE Pantry St. Patrick’s Day Bake-Off – March 17 

The HOPE pantry is a resource on campus that helps provide students with non-perishable food items. To spread the word about the pantry on campus, the CEC is hosting a St. Patrick’s Day bake-off this week. 

“We know that there are students that could use the pantry that don’t know about it or are nervous about coming over here,” Branin said. “So having a fun bake-off event is a way to highlight the pantry and encourage students to come check it out in a fun way.”

The bake-off is open to all students and employees, and participants must create a green food item for the competition. Those who participate take three pictures of their green bake-off submission and submit those pictures to

If students need ingredients for their submissions, the HOPE pantry is offering green food items such as jello, pistachio pudding, frosting and sprinkles, which can be picked up at the CEC across the street from the science building. 

For more information and to register to participate, complete the registration form.

SUU Discover – Weekly Story Time at Cedar City Library

Although this event is not being held this week because of the literacy event at the library, on Tuesdays at 4:30 p.m., the CEC sponsors a story time event where students can go, serve and read to students. 

To sign up or get more information, email

Days for Girls – Weekly Service Event

On Wednesdays from 7-8 p.m. in the Emma Eccles Jones Education Building in room 215, volunteers are needed to help make reusable feminine hygiene kits for those in need. 

For more information, email

Paiute Center Tutoring – Weekly Service Event

Volunteers are needed Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:50-5 p.m. and Wednesdays from 2:50-4 p.m. to help tutor. 

Branin says those interested in volunteering can simply show up or sign up at

After School Sports – Weekly Service Event 

Volunteers are needed to help with sports activities for middle school aged kids on Thursdays from 3-4 p.m. 

To sign up and to find out the location of the activities, email

Cyber-Seniors – Volunteers Needed 

This nonprofit organization helps senior citizens become more technologically savvy, and they are looking for volunteers. 

Volunteers do one-on-one over the phone consultations to help the elderly community with tasks like completing online grocery orders or setting up video calls.

To apply, visit their website, click on “service” and then “become a volunteer.” 

For more information, email or visit the “About Us” portion of the Cyber-Senior webpage

To sign up for the weekly emails from the CEC for more information on upcoming service opportunities, email or visit the CEC website.


Story by: Elizabeth Armstrong
Photo by Austin Kehmeier on Unsplash