ST. GEORGE, Utah — Dixie State University Student Association Vice President of Service Dillon McKinney was recently honored with the 2017 Community Engaged Student Leadership Award by the Western Region of Campus Compact.
“Dillon McKinney is one of the most kindhearted and humble individuals I have had the pleasure of knowing,” Anilee Bundy, assistant director of student involvement at Dixie State, said. “He lives and breathes service and is very thoughtful and genuinely wants to do all in his power to help others.”
For McKinney, who admits to being caught off guard when he found out that he won the award, providing service opportunities for the Dixie State community is a team effort.
“To be awarded for the Western Region of Campus Compact really means a lot to me,” McKinney said. “I can honestly say that this isn’t something I can take full credit for. I credit my advisors, my peers and my mentors because the award is more of a reflection of our university than it really is of me.”
Having been heavily involved with the service branch since its inception in 2014, McKinney has served as the student association’s vice president of service for two years and is preparing to enter his third year during the 2017-18 academic year.
During the 2015-16 school year, McKinney and his service branch provided 44 service events and led the campus in contributing more than 5,000 service hours to causes such as national hunger and homelessness. The DSUSA Service branch also heads the Campus to Community service project every semester in which students are encouraged to engage with the community. Dixie State partners with United Way Dixie on projects such as packaging 100,000 meals for the community’s underfed and helping the area’s nonprofit agencies with various tasks and projects.
Additionally, during his first year with DSUSA, McKinney helped develop and implement DSU’s first Alternative Spring Break in which students forgo traditional beach vacations in favor of service trips. Now expanded to also include regional trips over fall break, the program holds a special place in McKinney’s heart, as it offers him and his participating peers the opportunity to serve in new and different capacities.
“We get the opportunity to take students around the country to do projects outside of our own community. It really opens not only my own eyes, but a lot of students’ eyes,” McKinney said. “A lot of times, we have preconceived notions of the issues going on around us. Something that’s not necessarily an issue here in St. George is a huge issue somewhere else. It’s easy to get in the mindset that it’s not an issue, but you get out there, and you’re like, “Wow! I had no idea,” because we’re just not exposed to those things.”
McKinney also has been instrumental in motivating statewide service efforts across all Utah Campus Compact member institutions as co-chair of Utah Campus Compact’s Student Advisory Council.
Campus Compact, a coalition of colleges and universities, deepens institutions’ abilities to improve community life and educate students in civic and social responsibility. The coalition encourages students to become engaged in their communities by promoting civic responsibility, service, collaboration, inclusiveness and flexibility.
“When I heard that he was receiving the Community Engaged Student Award for the Western Region of the Campus Compact, I was so excited for him, but I wasn’t surprised,” Bundy said. “He has earned it by simply being who he is — a guy who will go out of his way to help anyone in need.”
To learn more about Dixie State University Student Association’s service efforts, visit thedixielife.com/service.