Office for Student Involvement to give back During Annual Make a Difference Week

Lauren Reid, Staff Reporter

Oakland University’s Office for Student Involvement (OSI) annual Make a Difference Week will commence on Monday, Oct. 19 with a combination of in-person and virtual service projects and volunteer opportunities. 

The goal of Make A Difference Week is to bring the OU community together with the common mission of improving the lives of others and the community around us,” said Jeremy Heinlein, coordinator of leadership and service programs at the OSI. “Students can expect a wide range of service opportunities that serve both our campus and local communities.” 

On Monday, Oct. 19, students have the opportunity to make audiobooks for a local elementary school — once participants RSVP, they will be emailed a powerpoint to create their audiobook. On Tuesday, Oct. 20, participants are writing thank-you letters for blood donors.

“[On Tuesday], we will be doing a Zoom meeting in the morning so participants can meet with people and talk,” said Emily Bernas, graduate assistant for leadership and service learning. “[Later on], we will do an informational session about the American Red Cross Club (whom the OSI is teaming up with for this event) and discuss where the donations are going.” 

Wednesday, Oct. 21 will be centered around making dog toys for the Oakland County Animal Shelter out of old t-shirts and blankets. A morning Zoom call will take place here as well, to allow for socialization and for the OSI to show participants how to make the toys.   

“I think [socialization] is one of the main things we’re missing with virtual activities,” Bernas said. “Whether students know it or not, I think they’re craving that, so [the OSI] is trying to make these activities more interactive.” 

The activity for Thursday, Oct. 22 is creating inspirational drawings for the Jenna Kast Believe in Miracles Foundation, and on Friday, Oct. 23, students have the opportunity to volunteer at the OU student farm from 9 a.m. – noon.

“We’re helping with preparing everything for the winter,” Bernas said in regard to the campus farm volunteer opportunity. “However, this opportunity is limited, there can only be eight people at a time. All of the other events have no limit.”

The OSI office will be used as a drop off room for all activities throughout Make a Difference week — they are collecting donations for the Golden Grizzlies Pantry during the week, too. 

“With the impact of COVID, we’ve had to alter every program to ensure safety while still being engaging and impactful,” Heinlein said. “Student involvement hasn’t stopped with the pandemic, but we have been maximizing our creative efforts to consistently offer high quality programs for our student community. The programs may look a little different this year, but the impact is still there.” 

For more information on the Make a Difference week lineup, visit GrizzOrgs and for additional upcoming opportunities and events, check out the OSI homepage