PARSONS – Each year, members of West Virginia University Student Government plan a retreat for the end of summer, and this year’s event had an added component which benefitted local residents.
WVU Student Body President Chris Nyden was part of a group of 20 students traveling to Tucker County last weekend for the getaway that featured a giving component – the group worked to complete many needed projects around the Parsons area.
“The whole purpose of our retreat this weekend is to show students we have a responsibility, as leaders, which extends beyond Morgantown and our campus,” Nyden said. “We have lots of students who are from out of state, and we wanted to show them a beautiful part of West Virginia.”
Nyden, who is originally from Charleston, said the group spent the weekend at Blackwater Falls cabins and spent Saturday working in Parsons to help complete projects.
“I think people are going to get a lot out of this and I hope they realize we can do so much more for the state besides the things we do on the WVU Campus,” Nyden said.
Parsons City Administrator/Treasurer Jason Myers said the volunteers didn’t let Mother Nature’s downpour of rain hold them back from making a difference.
“Despite bad weather, WVU students, city officials, city workers and local volunteers worked diligently to make improvements to downtown, River City Park and Pulp Mill Bottom Pond,” Myers said.
“Words cannot express how thankful we are to the many volunteers who generously took time out of their weekend to help improve the quality of life in our community,” Parsons Mayor Dorothy Judy said. “We’re truly honored to have met and worked with several dedicated and skillful young men from WVU today – they exemplified a strong commitment to community service with their leadership, generosity and dedication.”
Parsons Park Board member Kennetha Greenlief said the group helped clear access to the pond in the Pulp Mill Bottom, painted swing sets in the parks, painted the concession stand and removed the chain links at the baseball field, and removed debris from downtown Parsons.
Jacob Evans, WVU Student Body Vice President, said instead of just doing a retreat, the group decided to pick an activity to help give back.
“We decided to come to Blackwater Falls, and we were looking for places close by where we could work to make an impact,” Evans said. “I called the WVU Extension Office in Parsons and they put me in contact with Jason Myers. He gave me an extensive list of things we could do in Parsons. After that, it all kind of fell into place, and we are trying to make as much of an impact as we can before we have to go back to school.”
Evans, who is from Martinsburg, said the group chose Tucker County because it is close to Morgantown.
“We wanted to take less folks and cut our expenses in half, and give back to an area,” Evans said. “Parsons has been a great help to us. We are learning a lot and giving back.”
WVU Student Government Advisor Daniel Brewster said the group worked hard.
“I think it’s great they are able to give back,” Brewster stated. “Lots of these students are not from West Virginia and they are enjoying seeing Blackwater Falls. For them, this is about team building as well as giving back. It’s an opportunity for them to work together and get to know one another as well. These kids are student leaders and they want the state to know they are ready to help out.”
Following a day of working, the students were treated to a baked steak dinner at Little Andi’s Restaurant in Parsons.