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Volunteers fix up house for UCC

By Melanie Fenstermaker
On April 14, 2014

Down the hill south of 400 North, hidden by a patch of dense greenery, is the UCC house, a small building owned by the Utah Conservation Corps where students gathered to participate in a risk management project last Friday.

The project was designed to help prevent fire hazards on USU’s campus. The students spent the afternoon pruning trees, chopping wood and organizing old branches that were a potential threat to campus safety.

“You’re making this property and the USU campus a whole lot safer,” said Sean Damitz, director of the UCC, to the volunteers before they started their work.

Several students agreed the volunteer effort was an important safety precaution.

“Utah has a big problem with wildfires,” said Tiffani Jolley, a communication disorder major. “So, I think it’s a really worthwhile place to put our service. It sounds like the service we are doing today is really needed.”

Other students were glad to help beautify an older, more remote part of campus.

“I think it’s awesome that we’re coming somewhere that’s old and run down and we’re going to try and make it new again,” said Jillian McCarthy, a business major. “The rest of campus doesn’t need a whole lot of work. It’s up to code.”

Pruning and Pizza, the official name of the project, was planned by the UCC in conjunction with the Val R. Christensen Service Center. It was one of the biggest service projects of Service Week 2014 and is the biggest volunteer project of the year for the UCC, Damitz said.

The UCC house, which now serves as the UCC office, sits on a 30-acre property that used to be an orchard. The UCC purchased the house after receiving a $8,000 grant in November 2013. They plan to use the house for 10 years and, in the process, make the house more energy- and water-efficient, practice fuel reduction and involve the students in hands-on projects, Damitz said.

Damitz described the progress made on the house so far. They cut down some of the larger, more threatening trees, are in the process of building a ramp leading up to the building and have done other volunteer projects like Pruning and Pizza.

In the near future, they plan to involve engineering students in a project constructing a latrine near the house. After that, another goal is to put solar panels on the roof, Damitz said.

At the event, a new program called Aggie Outdoor Volunteers was announced. This program will allow students to do building and beautification projects and will be available Fall 2014. Students who are interested were invited to contact the Val R. Christensen Service Center.
Twitter: @mcfenstermaker


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