Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My (shared) BYU Legacy

Before I got married and had Audra, I actually did some pretty cool things (not that changing diapers isn't cool...). One of those things of which I am rather proud was organizing Community Outreach Day at BYU. I know most of you are asking, what on earth is that?

Well, Bill Clinton declared Martin Luther King Day as a national day of service, and while I was attending BYU I decided that BYU should have some sort of service day to honor that. They already did a candlelight vigil, but nothing in relation to service. I went to the student union (BYUSA) and pitched my idea: On the Monday holiday of MLK Day, instead of staying at home and doing homework, we would encourage students to come and give a few hours of their time doing service. We would provide breakfast, the service projects, and the transportation and all the students would have to do was show up. I happen to be a very good organizer, and I presented my ideas pretty well, but they said, "we love this idea, but don't get too excited. The most people we ever get to attend service projects are about 50." In my head I was like, "we're going to get 10 times that!" and I got to work.

I have to say this is a shared legacy, because by default my roommates and sisters became very involved in the project as well (by the time I graduated my roommates got very scared when I said the phrase, "I have an idea"- Ben is almost to that point, but not quite yet). I also had a wonderful committee, and we put in a lot of hours and got everything ready- not sure what to expect. Coming up with a name was one of the hardest parts- we considered "Neighborhood Awareness Day" and several others before finally settling on "Community Outreach Day." That first year, we had over FOUR HUNDRED people show up! BYUSA was totally shocked- they had never had such great success before, especially for a project that was in it's first year. I won an award for all of BYU for the best new program of the year. It was all over the news- it was such an awesome thing to be able to come up with the idea, plan the whole thing (with aforementioned help), and have it be such a huge success. And, I am proud to say, the tradition still continues. Here is a news article about yesterday's festivities:


I hope this legacy that I started continues and that someday if Audra decides to go to BYU, she can be put in charge of planning the program her mother started for one of the years she is there! It really is cool to think that something I started is still continuing to this day- even if my name has been forgotten, at least my program has not!

(I apologize if I sound a little prideful in this post- but I am a little proud of this. I think I have been able to do a lot of great things, and sometimes it is really easy to forget that when you're a stay-at-home-mom. I do miss the recognition of accomplishing goals and being rewarded for your work- and I truly envy you mothers out there who have been able to find the perfect work/mom balance so you can get that recognition that so many of us crave, but still be the best moms to your kids as well. And, I will just throw in, that on the flipside of that coin, I have the utmost respect for all of you working mothers- I think you guys have the toughest job in the world because you go out in the workforce and face the stresses and deadlines that come from that, and still have to come home and put food on the table! So, while I envy you that little freedom you enjoy, I also am in awe and have such respect for you because of the hard work you do!!!!)

(And, I know some of you thought I would post about the wonderfulness of today- but I think the events transpiring around the country today speak for themselves- though I look forward to reading about anybody else who is posting about today. I am sure virtually all of you, even if you do not like Obama, at least appreciate the historical nature of the day and the excitement in the air across the country. Happy Inauguration Day!)


  1. Those were fun times. I've often wondered what happened to the program you started so long ago so thanks for posting this! On the news last night I heard of all the service that was given in the community, as well as the service given by the President (Obama) yesterday on MLK day and I just love the idea of honoring someone by giving to others.
    And, that would be great if Audra joined in that tradition at BYU, or anywhere else she decided to go. Maybe she'll even start her own Community Outreach Day if her college does not already have one!

  2. My main comment about inauguration day 2009? How many times can you hear the word "historic" before you go insane?

    I didn't watch or listen to more than the minimum amount of inauguration coverage yesterday, and I heard the word "historic" about 20 bajillion times. I very quickly got sick of the word. It wouldn't have been so bad if reporters and talking heads used the word once each, but I heard people saying "historic" every ten seconds and I wanted to scream. Do any of them have a thesaurus? Can they really not think of any other words to describe the significance of the event? Ugh.

    It reminds me of the first General Conference held in the Conference Center. It seemed like every single speaker talked about the "historic occasion" at least twice. I was annoyed then, too.

    (I am not trying to harp on your use of the word, Christina. Reading it in your parenthetical post script just triggered my annoyance from yesterday)

  3. No worries- remember, I was a history teacher, too, so I am excited about the history of the moment- but, sometimes things can go a little overboard!

  4. I thought of you on MLK day and I think I have on all of them since we were roomies. You are one of the most ambitious people I have ever met. And we didn't always cringe when you said "I have an idea" because it was usually a fun and exciting one! :) (How many people think of the idea to dress up in a toga and make a Roman cake just to watch Gladiator?) I'm glad to hear they have continued on with what you started. That is pretty cool you have a legacy at BYU and I am glad I was able to take part in it.

    And as a history major myself I saw the historical moment yesterday for what it was and I loved every minute of the celebration yesterday. I enjoy history and I like it even more when I am able to be a part of it (even it was via television).

  5. I still have my tshirt. I totally remember that day. We cleaned the up the grossest home I have ever been in. It was such a good experience though. You did a fantastic job organizing. I totally relate to pre-baby/marriage adventures and feelings. I forget that I am a world traveler and scholar sometimes as I tell James for the 10th time to not "hug" the other little kids at Lynnwood mall playground. My brain is melting.

  6. Did you know that Americorps Alumni marched in the inauguration parade! I missed seeing it though! They were the first national service organization to ever march in a inauguration parade.

  7. I always think about you on MLK day too. I remember spending the day ripping apart airline seat covers covered with vomit. Good times! I'm glad that Community Outreach Day is still going. I need to do some community outreach here, but I don't think I'll be starting anything like you did. I'm more of a join in on something that's already started person.