Volunteer and Make a Difference

Ariel Themm, Staff Reporter

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Oakland University students have participated in the national Make a Difference Day on October 28 since 2011. They donated their time in efforts to bring students to local organizations and impact the local community.

All OU students were able to join in the volunteer work. Not only were students volunteering, but some faculty joined in by supervising and participating in the work themselves.

What kind of work? Student groups were sent off to various locations around the metro Detroit area to volunteer where organizations needed student aid. One such program was the Passport to Medicine program in Pontiac, where the organization makes an effort to reach out to children to create an interest in different medical degree programs.

Medical students were also hosting a mini-health and wellness fair in honor of the event. They provided flu vaccinations, taught first-aid-kit assembling and educated attendees on stress relief. 

“Students are really busy so it’s nice for them to focus their efforts on one day to give back to local communities,” Jean Szura, Director of Service Learning of School of Medicine, said.

“Students are… gaining more of an awareness of what the needs are, while the people benefit from this,” Szura said.

OU was able to help other organizations such as Meals on Wheels, World Medical Relief, Turning Point, Oakland Pioneer and the Historical Society. Students did different work depending on which organization they volunteered for. For example, students would help rake leaves up in the yards of folks in the surrounding area.

“Events like these are great ways to give back to the community,” Hannah Clark, a graduate assistant of leadership and service programs, said.

“You feel a different energy while volunteering. You’re helping yourself through helping others,” Clark said. 

This year, OU was able to partner with the alumni office and gather aroud who were willing to volunteer alongside current OU students.