Employees volunteer at Whatcom Humane Society

Western Washington University professional and classified staff employees can use a leave day of eight hours for community service as part of a university program designed to promote efforts to make a positive difference in Western's various communities.

Recently, a group of several volunteers took advantage of that option and volunteered their time at the Whatcom Humane Society, where they worked as a team to help maintain and upgrade parts of the facility.

Molly Vogel, program coordinator and designated school official for Extended Education at Western, organized a two-day session of volunteering four hours each day at the Whatcom Humane Society on June 11 and 16.

Vogel has been a volunteer at the Whatcom Humane Society for about three years as a dog walker on the weekends, and says she will continue to volunteer as much as she can.

A group of seven volunteers joined Vogel during the two days. Six people volunteered on June 11, and five people volunteered on June 16.

“I highly recommend it for anyone, because it’s a great place to volunteer,” Vogel said. “I love dogs, and I wasn’t able to own a dog when I was a student, so I would just go and get my fill on the weekends.”

Vogel said she even adopted a dog from the Whatcom Humane Society.

Rebecca Beardsall, marketing manager for Extended Education, also participated in the volunteer effort at the humane society.

Beardsall said she had already used most of her hours volunteering at the Bellingham Public Library, but since she had three more hours for this year, she decided to join Vogel and the other staff at the Whatcom Humane Society.

Beardsall, Vogel and other staff worked together to help pull weeds in front of the dog pens, put up sun shades in the dog training section for the people and the dogs, worked in a rooster pen and put up fencing in that area.

Beardsall said in addition to volunteering at the Whatcom Humane Society, everyone in her team volunteered this year and did things such as cleaning up the district trails with Washington Trails Association and helping out in the fields with Growing Veterans.

“It’s an amazing opportunity, because so many people who work full time want to volunteer, but they don’t have time during the day to do it,” Beardsall said. “With this program, Western offers the time for people to go out and help their community in various ways. It is great to see Western have that kind of commitment to the community. It’s a wonderful opportunity to give back.”

Vogel also believes that there are a lot of benefits that come from these programs.

“One reason is, of course, that you are giving back to the community, but it is also really valuable to get to know your colleagues across different offices,” Vogel said. “It's a really great way to network and connect with people from work, but outside of the work context.”

To utilize this community service leave day, staff must fill out a Department Leave Request Form, identify where they will be volunteering and then have Human Resources evaluate the form. Service hours reset on June 30. The community service day will again be provided for the 2015-17 biennium for both classified and professional staff.

Additional Community Service Day volunteer options that have been approved in the past include The Volunteer Center of Whatcom County, Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County, the Skagit Volunteer Center, Western Students Give Back, the Samish Neighborhood Association and the American Red Cross.

Courtesy photo