Reflections of service through Below: Denise Dunahoo ’89 completed her RSI project at Theatre Museum in Mount Pleasant. Inset: Students Megan Riggenburg, Krista Shehee, Dana Zimmerman and Hannah Milligan helped area residents with yard cleanup during Make a Difference Day last year.
esponsible Social Involvement (RSI) was implemented in 1968, chiefly as the College’s response to the then-prevalent outburst of student-led social activism across the country. For more than 40 years Iowa Wesleyan students have been actively engaged in service across the region and around the world. Though the structure and requirements have changed over the years, the continued service requirement for every student makes Iowa Wesleyan’s program one of the oldest in the nation. Since the program’s inception, more than 7,600 students have served more than 1.25 million hours. During Homecoming weekend 2011, a group of alumni and students reflected on what service means to them and to Iowa Wesleyan.
For Cathy Garretson Helman ’71, the benefits of serving others hit close to home. For her RSI project, Helman created a clothing exchange in her hometown community of Salem, Iowa. She recognized that some in the community needed a source for clothing and didn’t always have the means to travel to get it. “This was before
PURPLE & WHITE December 2011
the time of yard sales, or resources like the Fellowship Cup,” she said. “There were no Goodwill stores closer than Burlington or Iowa City.” She found the exchange helped fill a real need in her community, especially for elderly residents seeking warm clothing and young mothers in need of clothing for babies and children.