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Honoring laborers through service

UMM students and members of Federated Church cleaned a stretch of Highway 9 just outside of Morris.

While most people tend to think of Labor Day as a day of vacation, more than 70 UMM students and community members spent last Monday afternoon volunteering at sites across Morris, Cyrus, and Fergus Falls as part of UMM's Fall Day of Service.

The afternoon kicked off at 1 p.m. on campus where students gathered for an opening speech and small group discussions with their service teams. Because the event is scheduled for Labor Day, the focus of the day was on service and its connection to the labor movement in the United States.

"We decided to do Labor Day partly because there is a lot of interest among our student body about labor movements," Argie Manolis, coordinator of the Office of Community Engagement, said. "Although none of these projects necessarily relate to labor movements, we are going to think a little bit about honoring the people who built this country and helped us all to have a place to work."

After the reflection, the groups separated and headed to their service sites, which this year included Adopt-a-Highway with Federated Church, Legacy Homes, the Morris Movie Theater, West Wind Village, Pomme de Terre Park, Habitat for Humanity in Cyrus, and Someplace Safe in Fergus Falls.

A group of students also cooked a community meal, primarily from local ingredients, for the volunteers to come together at the Morris Senior Center at the end of the day.