UMW student groups contribute to Dillon

On Saturday, 30 to 40 Montana Western students joined the Beaverhead Trails Coalition to improve the W trail and the Dillon Overlook Trailhead.  Dan Downey photo


Twisted Ink. Terra Verde. Veterinary Science. Paranormal Investigators. Humans in Performance. Veteran and Military.

Those are just six of the thirty active clubs at the University of Montana Western. You probably see us around throughout the school year, hosting events, riding floats in the Labor Day parade, selling raffle tickets for fundraisers. You might even know some of the members on a more personal basis – maybe we clerk at the grocery store where you shop, or serve your table at the restaurant, or fill up our vehicles at your gas station. Maybe one of us – probably blushing and a little bit jittery – approached you to ask for a donation of some sorts.

And maybe you get a little tired of supporting our activities all the time. It seems like we’re always hosting an event or conducting one fundraiser or another. But the truth is, our clubs – let alone our college – could not function without your support. Year after year, you pay, donate, and sponsor our existence, and we are sincerely grateful.

May we return the favor?

In the 2013-14 school year alone, about half of our clubs participated in one or more community service projects or events. Sometimes we support the community at large. Just recently, the Terra Verde Club worked with the city to host the Earth Day Festival and town clean-up; last fall the club offered free leaf raking for the community. The Biology Club cleans a stretch of the highway twice a year.

Sometimes we specifically support the families of Dillon. The UMW Paranormal Investigators runs the Haunted Hall in October and takes families on trick-or-treat tours through the dorms. Last fall the Business Club played “Secret Turkey,” providing Thanksgiving dinner for three families, and this April the Humans in Performance (HIP) club worked with the Women’s Resource Center to organize Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.

Of course, children’s education is also a key focus for many clubs. The Education Club runs the Homework Help Center which offers homework assistance to community youth in grades K-8. The Rodeo Club worked at the History Heritage Days at Parkview Elementary and the Draft Horse Driving Club offered free carriage rides to students at the same event. A club that just recently started – the Wrestling Club – hosts a wrestling camp in June.

Even the animal lovers of our community aren’t neglected. Each week, members of the Equestrian Team walk dogs at the Beaverhead Humane Society. This spring, the Horsemen’s Club hosted the Joe Wolter’s horsemanship clinic which was open to the community. 

The list goes on. Nevertheless, the clubs recognize that we can never fully repay Dillon residents for their continual support of Western. But we hope we can use what you have given us to “give back” in some fashion. And not just to our community, but to our state, our nation, and our world. This year, both the Rodeo Club and the Young Farmers and Ranchers Club sent care packages to soldiers serving overseas. Last fall, the Draft Horse Club donated through Heifer International to purchase six rabbits for a third-world family to raise for food.

Your generosity to us makes a full circle – you support us, and we in turn support our community and elsewhere. Maybe you have personally benefited from some of the service projects our clubs have participated in. If not, we hope that someday you will. Serving others is the best way we know to demonstrate how much your support means to us.