OGDEN -- Weber State student Tyler Stout stopped by the Rising Star of India volunteer booth in the Shepherd Union Building to reminisce about his summer service trip to India.
"It was like a second honeymoon for me and my wife," said Stout, 24, of Clearfield. "We worked with leprosy patients and taught their children in schools. We washed and treated their sores. We did construction projects. It was a great way to get to know your new wife."
Stout married wife Mandy in May, and their first honeymoon was in St. George.
"My wife always likes to do service trips," said Stout, a WSU German major who also takes international business classes. "I had traveled around Europe, but never to a Third World country. It opens your eyes.
"As a college student you tend to focus on yourself, your homework, your jobs, but I have learned so much from volunteering. As a business student, it's good to see the impact of the choices people make. And I also learned that the saying is true, 'Joy isn't determined by circumstances.' "
In the 2010-11 school year, more than 7,000 Weber State students -- about a third of all enrolled -- volunteered a total of more than 131,000 reported hours, according to the WSU Office of Student Involvement and Leadership.
"Sometimes a class requires volunteer work, but people find they love it so they continue to volunteer," said Shaylee Wheeler, of the Student Involvement staff. "They develop a core commitment to the cause. Their volunteer work becomes more than a line on their resume. They find they want to be involved, stay involved and make a difference in people's lives."
Jenny Frame, Ogden Nature Center volunteer coordinator, said she gets lots of volunteers from Weber State.
"We rely on volunteers, especially for the big events, like Creatures of the Night, our Halloween event," Frame said. "We couldn't do half of what we do without volunteers."
Nature Center volunteers help with the 8,000 school children who visit each year. Volunteers help garden, feed animals, and work on publicity and events.
"They also learn a lot of about nature," Frame said. "Students who volunteer always tell us they are pleasantly surprised by how much they learn."
Nicole Romero, 20, of Ogden, signed up for Habitat for Humanity of Weber & Davis Counties.
"It makes me feel good," the English major said. "There's always someone who needs help. I have volunteered as a tutor, and for family-related activities and the elderly. You can always find something related to your interests and capabilities."
So why Habitat for Humanity?
"I have taken training on brick laying," Romero said. "I like to stay busy. I think the busier you stay, the happier you are."
Travis Shupe, 24, of Pleasant View, was shopping the volunteer fair booths for his next project. Last school year he traveled to Ghana with WSU students trained in respiratory services.
"I'm addicted to traveling and to helping," said Shupe, a Spanish major taking pre-med classes. "Right now, I volunteer at the dental clinic as a Spanish-speaking interpreter. I am busy, but I am trying to master my time so I can make volunteering a top priority. My goal as a pre-med student is to ultimately to utilize my medical skills, to help those who need care and can't get it.
"You get so much more than you give when you volunteer. It changes you and makes you a better person. Your heart grows."