Campus community comes together to “make a difference”

Taylor Crumley, Staff Intern

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The Office for Student Involvement hosted the annual Make a Difference Day on Saturday, Oct. 27. The event allowed hundreds of students from Oakland University to participate in volunteer service to help make a difference in the community.

Make a Difference Day allows students to have the opportunity to build leadership skills, network in the community and make new friends. It has stood as the largest national day of community service for over 20 years. The celebration was started in 1992 by USA Weekend to promote service within the community, according to HolidaysCalendar.com.

OU participates every year to present students, clubs and organizations with the opportunity to get involved and volunteer in the local community. All OU students were invited to unite under the common goal of creating change and helping out the community.

Students could volunteer as a group or individually and pick from dozens of local organizations that need help. Make a Difference Day partnered with organizations such as the Breast Cancer 5K, Rainbow Connection, Auburn Hills Senior Services, Arc of Macomb County and Open Hands Food Pantry, among others. The variety of organizations that are involved helps OU reach out and positively impact the lives of others in all aspects of the community.

There were volunteer opportunities on campus as well. Several student organizations participated in on campus projects, such as Mission: Kindness and Golden Key, who put together goodie bags for the Hispanic Outreach Center in Pontiac.

“After only a few months of being the graduate assistant of service and leadership programs in the Office for Student Involvement and planning this event, I was so excited to finally see it come to life,” coordinator Daryl Blackburn said. “I have a passion for service, so being able to see so much of the Oakland community come together to volunteer was a dream come true.”

Over 400 students and alumni participated in Make a Difference Day this year, practically doubling last year’s total according to Blackburn.

Despite the rainy weather, students still made the effort to come out and help others.

Having volunteers available to do work is crucial for some organizations in the area. The OU Student Organic Farm heavily relies on the work of volunteers to keep up with all of the jobs that go into sustaining their garden.

“We get such a diversity of volunteers,” said Dr. Fay Hansen, director of the Student Organic Farm and associate professor of biology at OU. “Volunteers are critical for us. You can really blossom as a person and become a leader.”

The Organic Farm experienced an underproducing season this year due to bad weather. If they do not grow enough produce to sell, they don’t have enough money to keep the Organic Garden running. This is where volunteers play a crucial role in keeping important organizations like this one expanding on campus.

If you would like to get involved in future opportunities like Make a Difference Day, visit GrizzOrgs. There are also several volunteer opportunities on the OSI website.