UND students know tis the season for giving back


Jordan Cespedes

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UND students know tis the season for giving back

Santa's elves have help this year thanks to collaborations between the University of North Dakota and the United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Area, which administers the local Toys for Tots project.

Alex Johnson, an assistant professor in UND's School of Entrepreneurship, is one of those helpers. He's asked students in his Technology 110 class to design and build toys to donate to the effort.

"The Toys for Tots project offered a way that students could help out their local communities and provide an ideal platform on which to teach basic manufacturing principles and also product design," Johnson said.

Even though the project is incorporated into the students' course as part of the curriculum, they have embraced the project.

"Our students have put in a lot of time and effort into these projects and I think this is largely due to the fact that they know they are helping out the community," he said. "Also, most enjoy the design and fabrication processes."

Students are creating a variety of toys, including dollhouses, rubber-band guns, tanks, trucks, boats, airplanes, 3-D puzzles and more. Johnson hopes to donate about 140 toys to the program this year.

"It is my intent to continue to develop and improve this project, Johnson said. "It may take a slightly different path in future classes, but the intent will still be the same."

Filling the bins

Another student organization at UND that is work with the Toys for Tots project is Order of Omega, a Greek honor society. This is its third year participating in the effort.

"We got started with the Toys for Tots drive when our (former) president, Megan Hop, wanted to find a way for the University to give back to the community, and so she reached out to United Way," said Trevor Trombley, a senior at UND and president of Order of Omega.

This year, Order of Omega placed toy bins in all of the Greek houses to collect donations. An extra bin also made an appearance elsewhere on campus, this year, to try to spread the word about the toy project.

"We expanded to have a bin in the Student Involvement and Leadership Office (in the Memorial Union)," Trombley explained. "Next year, we are hoping to expand into other campus buildings as well as the dorms."

Trombley said there is always an overwhelming amount of participation from students.

"It shows that the UND Greek community cares and selflessly gives back to the Grand Forks community," he said.

Members of the University community can drop off toy donations at the UND Student Involvement and Leadership Office in the Memorial Union, Twamley Hall and the Gorecki Alumni Center.

Jordan Cespedes University & Public Affairs student writer

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