What do you get when you mix a dorm full of college guys, an RA and a community in need? At West Liberty University you get a successful three-year effort of outreach and awareness of the reward found in helping others.
Operation Unless began when Boyd Hall Resident Director Kyle Cook was deciding on a community service project for his staff and residents to take part in and he realized that everyone was passionate about a different cause, so how would they choose?
Then Cook watched the animated film, “The Lorax” based on the well-known Dr. Seuss story and came up with an idea.
“Why not do it all?” he asked. Cook’s staff of seven resident assistants agreed and joined him in planning Operation Unless.
“Just as the Lorax says in the story, ‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not,” he said.
“The idea is to help as many people as possible. The staff collected money in all of the residence halls on our campus and chose a day dedicated to collecting money in the College Union. This raised $650 which was split into four $160 donations,” explained Cook, who is a senior music education major.
“The first of the donations will go to the West Liberty University Art Department for Wheeling beautification projects designed by our students, faculty and staff. The next will be delivered to the Wounded Warriors Project, a national organization that is dedicated to helping wounded members of our nation’s Armed Forces. Our third charity will be the Hancock County Animal Shelter. Members of the Boyd Hall Staff will be personally delivering the donation to the shelter and will also be donating a few hours of assistance to the shelter staff and animals. Our fourth donation will be sent directly to the St. Jude’s Research Children’s Hospital,” he said.
The Boyd Hall staff found it very important to include children into the program, however, there is a much deeper meaning to this charity.
In 2010, Director of Housing and Associate Dean of Students Marcella Snyder was diagnosed with kidney cancer.
“To see Marcella fight through this horrible cancer with bravery and a positive attitude was something that the Boyd Hall staff has never forgotten,” Cook said.
“Also in our community, just one day after her high school graduation in May 2012, Allison Martin’s life was put on hold. As an 18-year old from Bellaire, Ohio, Ally was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and has been battling the disease since,” he added. “Both of these ladies have made such an impact on the Boyd Hall staff that the check will actually be made in honor of their bravery, optimism and genuine personalities.”
Boyd Hall is also planning a day to volunteer with children in our area. Plus, they hosted a clothing drive across campus and the proceeds were donated to Wheeling’s House of the Carpenter. Other projects include hosting a day on the farm for children at risk and a campus-wide anti-bullying campaign.
The Boyd Hall staff is proud to work for the West Liberty University Office of Housing and Residence Life, Cook said. Working with Cook are resident assistants: Bryan Gasaway, Jeshua Irazabal, Kyle Lutz, Tannon Mossor, Evan Newman, Jeffrey Tice and Griffin Yocum.
A traditional college residential hall setting, Boyd Hall is the home to 134 male first-year Hilltoppers. For more information, please call 866.WESTLIB.
- West Virginia State Journal news coverage of Operation Unless.