BYU’s ‘Y-Days’ get a makeover

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Students work on a service project in the Y-Serve office. Students can visit the Y-Serve office to learn more about the upcoming Y-Days.
Students work on a service project in the Y-Serve office. Students can visit the Y-Serve office to learn more about the upcoming Y-Days. (Maddi Driggs)

Y-Serve is revamping the BYU tradition of Y-Days: two days of service activities performed by the BYU community.

The event used to run for a week, but Head of Y-Serve Marketing Alek Mika, a senior physiology and developmental biology major, said shortening it to a weekend event will help get more students involved in intentional service.

This year’s Y-Days will take place Friday to Saturday, Sept. 25-26.

“In the past Y-Days was a time where people were informed about service opportunities, but we want to instead focus on actually going to do service during those days,” Mika said.

Nick Frazier, Y-Serve’s executive director of faculty and staff, is a junior majoring in Korean. He explained the motivation behind Y-Serve’s reinvention of Y-Days.

“Traditionally, Y-Days was something the entire community came together to do,” Frazier said. “There’s a lot of tradition associated with Y-Days, and that’s kind of died off recently, so we want to start that back up again. It is going to become part of the BYU community again.”

Mika detailed the Y-Days schedule for the weekend. Y-Serve organizations in charge of the projects include Community Action and the Freshman Service Corps. Everyone is invited and encouraged to participate.

Friday:

  • Volunteer at the Community Action Food Warehouse
  • Blood drive

Saturday:

  • Provo River Trail and Exchange Park clean up
  • Center Street Apple Orchard clean up
  • Tending Provo’s Community Gardens
  • Y-Days fan-zone football watch party outside The Wall

Mika expressed excitement for the Apple Orchard clean up, which involves the Utah County Gleaning Project.

“Y-Serve’s Freshman Service Corps, which does monthly service projects, is in charge of the apple orchard project,” Mika said. “We can have thousands of volunteers at that location, which is incredible.”

Frazier discussed Y-Serve’s efforts to get the entire BYU community serving during Y-Days.

“We’re pushing to get BYU Alumni involved across the world in service during these two days,” Frazier said. “It’s hopefully something that people will look back on and say, ‘That really made me feel a part of the BYU community.'”

Y-Serve Executive Director Chris Crippen discussed why students should get involved with Y-Days and Y-Serve’s other service opportunities.

“We have a mantra above our door here that says ‘Learn to serve well, serve to learn better,'” Crippen said. “Service helps students find balance, give to others and set priorities.”

Crippen also talked about the role Y-Days has played throughout BYU’s history.

“They used to gather all the students together and they’d sweep sidewalks and do other service,” Crippen said. “When I saw those traditions, I knew we wanted to start something that big again,”

Mika discussed Y-Serve’s efforts to make Y-Days a part of BYU’s global community.

“We’re encouraging BYU Alumni to perform service all across the country during these two days wearing BYU gear, as they ‘go forth to serve,” Mika said.

The Y-Serve directors discussed what they hope to accomplish with Y-Days.

“Y-Days is a time to say, ‘let’s go do service, right now, together,'” Crippen said. “Our mission here is to give every student a service opportunity, and we’re hoping that Y-Days will drive students toward the 70 programs that we have at Y-Serve.”

Y-Serve directors said they want students to participate in Y-Days projects, and then be motivated to come to the Y-Serve office and learn about all the service opportunities available to them both on and off campus.

“We’re really trying to get people in these doors that have never been here before,” Mika said.

Y-Serve directors’ present goal is to get as many volunteers as possible to participate in the weekend’s service projects. Mika gave advice to students who want to know what they can do to help prepare for Y-Days.

“First and foremost, bring as many people with you as you can,” Mika said. “Spread the word person to person, and get a momentum going where every student will want to participate.”

The Y-Serve directors said they believe students who get involved with these service opportunities will be working to make the most of their BYU education.

“BYU students have a love for service,” Mika said. “Provo and Orem sacrifice so much by having a university here, and with Y-Days we have an opportunity to set aside our schoolbooks and say ‘thank you’ to the community that is hosting us for a crucial part of our lives.”

Students can learn more about Y-Days by going to yserve.byu.edu, clicking on the Programs tab, and clicking on Y-Days. Students can also look for flyers on campus, or go to the Y-Serve office in 2010 or 2330 Wilkinson Center.

The Y-Serve directors said they look forward to this reformed version of Y-Days that focuses on service, tradition and the spirit of BYU.

“Ever since I’ve started volunteering here, I feel like my BYU experience is that much more enriched,” Frazier said. “If we have even just one person who realizes through Y-Days that service could be a big part of their college experience, than we could consider Y-Days a success.”

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