Dec 4th, 2006 @ 2:46 pm | Author: By Ellen-Earle Chaffee
Many of the folks at Valley City State University give the word 'overtime' new meaning. Think only of the last month, for example.

Anyone who thinks you can put on a play, a concert, an art show, or a ball game while respecting the "40 hours a week" rule has never tried to do it. "My Three Angels" was a top quality treat for everyone who attended, thanks to the dozens of people who paid no attention to the clock for a number of weeks.

Similarly, we have had some excellent music and art shows, as we always do. The crowning event recently was the Madrigal Dinner, and being named "Queen Ellen" is only one of the reasons I loved it! The VCSU cafeteria disappeared totally, transformed into a glittering medieval castle full of lords and ladies dining, singing, jesting, playing instruments, and reciting Shakespearean sonnets. It was a feast in every sense of the word.

A large group of students, alumni, and high school volunteers spent part of the weekend preparing for the annual EBC Christmas show scheduled for next Saturday night. I just know they all had a million other things to be doing at the time, but there they were in Vangstad Auditorium preparing what has become one of the community's stellar seasonal events.

The basketball teams have been playing regularly and extremely well, as all Viking teams do in every season. Coaching is not a job, the way Viking coaches do it – it is a calling. They and their team members have no regard for the clock when it comes to success in their sport. Athletic director Peters is always there, too, to make sure all goes well.

Guess what a couple of dozen students who live far away did for Thanksgiving dinner? Thanks to Kari Stricklin and a number of other volunteers, they had a fun and delicious dinner together at the Student Center that day.

The community holiday parade – and every other parade throughout the year – benefited from university participation that is organized by the Staff Senate, with primarily staff members as participants. For years they have been leading the university's participation in highway clean-up as well.

Let me be clear about this – not one of these people actually gets overtime pay. They are either volunteers or doing the work on salary, not hourly. They have a good deal of flexibility in determining how much they will take on, and they always go the extra mile.

They are literally creating the university as a dynamic entity for all of us. This is all in addition to the meat and potatoes (prime rib, if I do say so myself) of their work in the university's classrooms and offices. "Overtime" has new meaning – it means taking initiative, applying your talents, working hard, having fun, and not getting a dime to do it.

If you are attending these events, you know what I mean. If you are not, you should. You will be the richer for it, and your enjoyment is their reward.