Fox 13 News reporter Max Roth was once a college student who pursued a passion for service through AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA).
Roth was the master of ceremonies for the program’s 50th anniversary event at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center in West Valley City. Roth talked about his two terms in VISTA and his involvement in launching the Thayne Center for Service & Learning.
“I went to SLCC and I arrived at the Office of Alumni Relations and Community Service. There were three of us and I loved it,” says Roth.
He described creating a PowerPoint presentation and going class to class to talk to students about service and getting involved.
“I was doing what I loved; communicating with people. I was creative in getting out there and putting it together. By the end of the year, the school had committed to a full-fledged volunteer program,” says Roth. “We were really going somewhere.”
He signed up for another year to help root the Thayne Center on SLCC’s campus — a year that would be different than his first.
Some of the challenges he faced included keeping the programs afloat during administrative changes and not having the ability to create more programs or visit with more people.
“We were kinda removed in a double-wide portable and there was no bathroom in there,” says Roth.
Roth says there were certain SLCC staffers that went out of their way to lighten his load and help him achieve his goals — one of them being current SLCC president Deneece Huftalin.
Looking back, Roth is proud of his service and the lasting impact it has had.
“I stuck through it and I am proud of it. The Thayne Center is still there. It’s a great program and it’s thriving,” says Roth, adding with a firm smile, “I don’t take credit for it.”
Roth described finding great joy in meaningful service despite having little money as a college student.
A moment that makes him laugh is his grandmother’s reaction after he was sworn in to service.
“She’d say, ‘Max, when are you going to stop wasting your time with this VISTA thing?’ She loved to push my buttons,” says Roth.