UMRA members have logged nearly 200 hours of volunteer service to the University and broader community through the Silver Gopher Service Corps since its launch six months ago. Fifty different volunteers have filled 70 openings—assisting with "Sneak Preview" undergraduate recruiting events, greeting students at convocation and helping them move into residence halls during Welcome Week, and packing weekend meals for elementary school students facing food insecurity at home.
Silver Gopher projects fill an important need for service and promote a team-oriented experience, allowing UMRA members to get to know each other while volunteering together.
Additional, near-term opportunities include landscape restoration projects with Great River Greening and welcoming prospective students and families to the U Admissions Office “Minnesota Experience” program. Going forward, the Silver Gopher program goal is to establish an annual series of opportunities for UMRA members.
If volunteering and getting to know more UMRA colleagues are among your goals for the new academic year, sign up for one of the projects announced through the UMRA-MEMBERS listserv and come for the fun (and work!) on the assigned day and time. To help promote UMRA in the community and present a team identity, participants are encouraged to wear a Silver Gopher Service Corps t-shirt or other U of M gear. To purchase one of these fine shirts for $15, email UMRA member Scott Elton.
—Jerry Rinehart, University Retirees Volunteer Center Leadership Council chair