Education for Service: The Meaning of Buenafication Day

Aubrey Anderson, Opinion Editor

With Buenafication Day coming up next week, I really wanted to discuss why I think it’s so important for all Buena Vista University (BVU) students and faculty to participate. I personally love volunteer work. During my time here on campus, I have been a member of Student Mobilizing Outreach Volunteer Efforts  (MOVE), Beaver Animal Rescue and Care (BARC), and I have interned at Habitat for Humanity. Overall, I have logged over 600 volunteer hours in the past three years. Through those acts of volunteering, I have grown as a person, made a difference in the Storm Lake community, and have gained experiences that look great on a resume.  

Buenafication Day is actually one of the reasons why I was interested in BVU in the first place. I thought it was so cool that a university would cancel class and encourage students to go out and volunteer within the community. I thought that Buenafication Day really brings home the school motto: Education for Service.  

Speaking of the school motto, I personally get frustrated that people are able to skip Buenafication Day. I understand that there is truly no way to make sure everyone participates, but I feel that people are missing the point of Buenafication Day, which was originally created in 1903. Since the modification of its purpose in 1980, Buenafication Day gave students the opportunity to ‘buenafy’ the campus. It has now slightly shifted to allow students and faculty to ‘buenafy’ Storm Lake as well, which I think is even more beautiful.  

Buenafication Day is more than a day off from class; a day to sleep in and do whatever you wish. Buenafication Day is a yearly opportunity for students to see campus in a new way, or to leave campus and truly see Storm Lake. Through volunteering in the community, students are able to see different locations around town, interact with local business owners/community members that they would never usually interact with, and perhaps make connections that last longer than the couple hours of service. I wouldn’t have gained my internship with Habitat for Humanity if I hadn’t previously volunteered with them and learned how cool of an organization it is. By volunteering there, I made connections with Misty Sanderson, the Executive Director, and some of the construction crew. I now feel like I know people out in the community, rather than the contained population here on campus.  

Volunteering also helps you learn skills and gain experiences one cannot learn in the classroom. I know I personally have yet to learn the hands-on construction skills I have gained by volunteering with Habitat, within a classroom setting. A classroom never taught me how to plant a tree, or the best way to clean up roadside debris on a windy day. Volunteering also provides you with a new form of teamwork that the classroom can’t provide. During Buenafication Day, your team/group of volunteers is a random mixture, sometimes with students and community members together. You aren’t just working with people you know, which forces you to branch out, meet new people, and find a way to work as a team for a couple hours. To me, that sounds a lot like being in the actual workforce.

“Education for Service” is more than getting a college degree to work at a company. It’s gaining education through experiences like volunteerism and community outreach. It’s going beyond BVU’s borders and sharing your skills with the Storm Lake community, and the rest of the world. So, please, if you haven’t signed up to volunteer during Buenafication Day, do it. It’s only a couple hours of your time, and you may find yourself having fun and gaining a new education you never thought you would find.