For the second year running, WSU students turned out October 20th to participate in a national day of service called Make a Difference Day. Sponsored by the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement along with the Office of Residence Life, Make a Difference Day aims to increase civic learning and participation among students and creating bonds between the university and our community partners and neighbors.
This year, organizers decided to stay closer to home. In fact, the day began with bulb planting on campus and ended at the Fall Festival at May Street School. In between, students painted at Chandler Magnet School and helped with face painting and the Moon Walk at the Food Day Celebration with the Regional Environmental Council.
“Bulb planting is a particularly effective civic engagement piece,” said Dr. Mark Wagner, Director of the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement. “Students take action, but won’t see the fruits of those actions until spring. When the campus blooms in April, a particular group of students will feel a level of pride and accomplishment.”
In all on Saturday, participants planted more than 300 bulbs. WSU’s Facilities Department contributed bulbs of daffodils and tulips. In addition, members of the local community also made donations. Bulbs came from WSU faculty and staff, as well as members of the WSU Neighborhood Advisory Council. Facility members Gary Joppas and Ronnie Beauregard gave the students instructions on planting and provided logistical support.
“I can’t say enough about Ronnie and Gary,” Dr. Wagner said. “They helped last year at Earth Day as well. Teaching us how to plant bulbs may not be on the final exam, but it’s education that will help when students have their own gardens and houses to keep.”
Following planting, students moved over to Chandler Magnet school and painted as well as provided support in organized the library book collection, both projects that have carried over from last year. At the end of the day, students helped set up the Fall Festival at May Street School and provided volunteer help at the Regional Environmental Council’s Food Day in the city center.
“This year, the where the weather threatened to cancel things,” Dr. Wagner said, “but in the end we managed to get a lot done with a great group of participants. I look forward to next year.”
In 2011, four teams went out into the community and worked with partners such as Habitat for Humanity and Friendly House.
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