Students Work With SVFA

Valley City State University students are working with the Sheyenne Valley Friends of Animals of Valley City to help provide homes for adoptable animals.

Jamie Wirth, coordinator of the Learning to Live program at VCSU, said Tuesday the service learning project is one of 16 projects taking place this year during freshmen students’ first 14 weeks on campus.

VCSU requires all new students to participate in Learning to Live projects that include volunteering in the community.

Said Wirth, “We have 16 different sections with 16 different faculty advisors. We have 200-some freshmen in the program.”

Joy Smith, who serves as advisor/instructor for the Dakota College at Bottineau Bridges program on the VCSU campus, is faculty advisor for the SVFA service learning project.

“Our students for their service learning project decided to partner with the SVFA,” Smith said Tuesday.

The students wanted to be fully involved, “and actually work with animals. They decided to tailgate with dogs,” Smith said.

During the VCSU football season groups of Smith’s students bring dogs to football games and tailgate with the animals, showing them to football fans.

She said students had to receive special permission from VCSU President Steve Shirley to bring dogs to football games at the stadium and tailgate with the animals.

“It (tailgating) is a nice outreach to the community,” Smith said.
Smith said the SVFA has previously sponsored Meet and Greet sessions between dogs and potential adoptive families, “but there are bigger crowds at football games.”

Smith said the tailgating sessions have been successful, resulting in dogs being adopted just before football games and adoption papers being filled out before games.

“One family met Bones (one of the dogs up for adoption) at the game and adopted him that day … It’s working,” Smith said.

She said students get to know the dogs they are with during tailgating sessions.

The next tailgating session will be Saturday, Nov. 3, just prior to the VCSU football game against Robert Morris University.

Tailgating will take place prior to the game from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., outside of the stadium.

Not only will fans have the opportunity to enjoy a game of football, but have the chance to take home a potential friend.

Smith said the tailgating setup is torn down before the game starts so students have the opportunity to watch the game.

If you have any questions visit SVFA on its Facebook page or visit its website at