This time of year isn't just known as the season of giving - for students, it's also the start of finals week. But that isn't stopping more than 200 UW-La Crosse students from giving up their Saturday to help those in need.
UW-L junior Emily Chrisler has five finals to look forward to in the next week, but she willingly signed on to the two-hour bell ringer shift for the Salvation Army. She joined 239 other UW-L students who filled up the entire bell ringer schedule Saturday, filling up each site and at some locations, providing live entertainment.
"I'm here just to kind of take my mind off of finals and relieve the stress and think about other people in the community rather than everything that I have to worry about," Chrisler said.
She and junior Sara Heller spent their two-hour shift at Festival Foods. Both are members of UW-L's Habitat for Humanity chapter, which organized the student takeover of the Salvation Army's bell ringing fundraiser. More than 20 other student organizations and four residence halls pitched in by providing their own members.
Danielle Sukalski, another UW-L junior, served her shift over at Walgreens on West Avenue.
"Everyone loves to see college kids out here doing this," she said. "It's such a good cause, knowing it goes back to the community here."
This was the second year UW-L's Habitat for Humanity orchestrated the day-long effort.