Service a lasting part of Y days

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    By BRUCE JACOBS

    It’s a tradition that goes back nearly a century, brings students together and makes lasting memories.

    More than 1,000 BYU students will have the opportunity to participate in that tradition Saturday at 10 a.m. during the annual Y Days service project.

    “The service project is well organized,” Y Days program director Michelle Durham said. “Students will be able to see the effects of their service and take pride in their school. It’s also a neat opportunity for getting to know new people,” she said.

    The service project began in 1907 when a clash between the junior and senior classes was resolved by a joint effort to paint the university symbol on the mountain, according to documents provided by BYUSA. Since then, covering the Y with a fresh coat of whitewash each year has been a way for students to show school patriotism, according to the document.

    Over the years, the service project has expanded to include other forms of service such as cleaning city parks, cutting cemetery grass, repairing widows’ homes and cleaning sidewalks, the documents said.

    Grounds director Roy Peterman, a 23-year veteran of the Y Days service project, will be leading the student task force once again.

    In addition to the work done on Y Mountain, students will also take part in other projects this year.

    “We’ll be laying sod at married student housing, cleaning the sidewalks around the Wilkinson Center and cleaning the driving range at Riverside Country Club,” Peterman said.

    Although the service project won’t involve painting the Y this year, students don’t need to put away their hiking shoes.

    The trail to the Y needs extensive trail grooming, and the Y itself needs to be cleaned and groomed in preparation for painting, Peterman said. The Y is scheduled to be painted around Homecoming week, he said.

    The grooming project will involve creating erosion bars, packing ruts left by erosion with small rocks, repairing and installing signs, putting up fences, chipping away pieces of the Y where it is crumbling and using brooms and backpack blowers to clean the surface of the Y, Peterman said.

    Four-wheelers and small-profile loaders will be used to haul equipment up the trail, he said.

    “The best thing about the project is the cementing of a sense of service in students that can be carried out to the world,” Peterman said. “These traditions are meaningful and will create one of the fondest recollections that will stick with students when they leave BYU.”

    Students wishing to participate in the project should meet at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Maeser Building Quad area. They will be organized into groups of 10, and a student leader for each group will be selected and trained on site. The project is scheduled to last until 3 p.m.

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