MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

November 30, 2013 

Cometeers bring personal service to life


There’s a new student group on campus that is bringing Mayville State’s tradition of personal service to life. The Cometeers aim to promote volunteer service of Mayville State University students by reaching out to communities near and far. The group has been organized for only a short time, but already they’ve made a big impact at the campus and beyond.

Mayville State students Jacob Allam and Brady Eichelberger were visiting during dinner one night and Brady mentioned his involvement at with the Larson Leadership program at the university. He told Jacob that he’d been encouraged to get involved with a group or organization and to get into a leadership role. Brady said that he was interested in starting a new volunteer organization at Mayville State. The idea was intriguing to Jacob and through their discussion that evening, they had formed a good basis for their plan.

The next day, the two spoke to Mayville State personnel and learned how they could proceed in establishing an official campus organization. They drafted a constitution and put together a list of prospective members. In addition, they visited with community businesses and organizations, such as the Luther Memorial Home, Sanford Health Mayville, GST in Portland, and others, to gauge the need for a volunteer organization such as the one they had envisioned. They learned that there is a great need in the community. After several weeks of preliminary work, Jacob and Brady brought their idea to the Mayville State Student Senate, which unanimously accepted Cometeers as an official organization of the university. In a few short months, membership in the group has grown to 42, and the group has quickly become the largest student organization on campus. Their faculty advisor is Rhonda Nelson.

A Cometeers board of directors was elected Nov. 5. President is Brady Eichelberger; vice president, Jacob Allam; secretary, Tina Nygard; treasurer, Tyler Vincent; record keeper, Kelsey Tretter; and Laura Ewert is public relations officer. Each director has his or her own set of responsibilities and is a group leader during events as well.

The purpose of Cometeers is to enrich personality, responsibility, attitude, and appreciation toward the members, community, and life in general. Members and other students provide volunteer service throughout the surrounding communities, the university, and the general public by offering their time and efforts to help others in many facets of life, in order to better those communities and its individuals. Members gain useful skills and knowledge that will assist them during their college years and throughout their professional lives. The organization encourages all Mayville State University students to become involved in volunteer service.

Some of the volunteer projects the Cometeers have been involved with include Rainbow Garden and Highway 200 clean-up, Summerfest, the PTA carnival, May-Port Food Pantry fundraiser, Farmers Bowl, MSU homecoming festivities, fundraisers for people in need, and more. Organizers say they are willing to take on any event that is considered a community service, and they have made themselves available to be on call, even when the call for help is last-minute.

Plans are to expand the service of the Cometeers beyond Mayville-Portland and throughout the United States, and even the world. They’ve discussed teaming up with a volunteer network at North Dakota State University for their annual trip to Guatemala. It is their desire to have an effect on populations far beyond their own lives. They do not want to limit the Cometeers within any borders, and they will seek to help anywhere and in any way that they can.

The Cometeers kickoff event was held Oct. 3. It was a time of educating students, faculty, and staff on the new organization, and it also provided an opportunity to collect food and other non-perishable items for the “Fill the Dome” project that will benefit area food pantries. The food drive continued for the weeks that followed, and the group delivered their contribution to the FargoDome this week.

I am extremely proud and grateful to the Cometeers student founders, Jacob Allam, Seattle, Wash., who is majoring in elementary education and social science, and is pursuing a minor in mathematics; and Brady Eichelberger, an English major from Lakota, N.D. These young men have taken it upon themselves to make a difference in the lives of others, and in so doing, I am confident they will also benefit.

If you’ve got a project and would like some help from the Cometeers, you may contact Brady at or 701-247-3650; or Jacob at or 253-486-9319. Like the Cometeers Volunteer Organization on Facebook.