Montana State University

New program at MSU encourages student body to volunteer 10,000 hours

September 18, 2009 -- By Evelyn Boswell, MSU News Service

MSU student volunteers recently cleared noxious weeds from Peets Hill in Bozeman. (Photo courtesy of Ted Koenig).   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
BOZEMAN -- Montana State University students already volunteer thousands of hours a year, but can they make it to 10,000?

Organizers of a new program at MSU are encouraging the student body together to volunteer 10,000 hours during the school year. Anyone who volunteers at least 10 hours toward that goal will be able to attend an April concert in the Strand Union Building. The band, not yet chosen, will be selected by volunteers.

"We feel a lot of students already volunteer on campus, but they don't get any recognition. We hope to shine a spotlight on student volunteers," said Ted Koenig, coordinator of the 10,000-hour program through the Student United Way of Montana State University and MSU's Office for Community Involvement.

Fellow organizer Jess Tyler said the program may also be an incentive for students who have been thinking about volunteering, but haven't done so yet.

"For both of us, we find the work that we do is very fulfilling. It's helping create a better community," Koenig said.

Koenig, a senior history major from Kalispell, tutors Bozeman elementary school children through the MSU America Reads/America Counts program. Tyler, a sophomore biochemistry major from the Lewistown area, is a Child Advancement Project (CAP) mentor in the Bozeman schools.

"It's always been a big thing to feel like you belong to a community and help out," Tyler said.

Athletes, fraternity and sorority members and other MSU students already volunteer in various ways, Koenig added. Some 25 students recently went to Peets Hill in Bozeman, for example, and pulled spotted knapweed with members of the Gallatin Valley Land Trust. Students are now looking for ways to serve homeless people in the Gallatin Valley. They were motivated, Koenig said, by Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez who wrote the book, "The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship and the Redemptive Power of Music," and spoke at MSU's 2009 freshman convocation.

Reasons for volunteering may vary, Koenig said. Some students might be motivated by the opportunity to attend a concert. Some may volunteer because it looks good on their resume. In the long run, Keonig and Tyler said they hope that students find personal satisfaction in volunteering and will make it a way of life.

The 10,000-hour movement was started in 2002 by students at the University of Iowa. To participate in MSU's program and receive a free concert ticket, students must volunteer at least 10 hours with local non-profit and community organizations. They can find volunteer opportunities, register for the program and record their hours at

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or