Leadership and Volunteer Center to host annual OU Day of Service

The Leadership and Volunteer Center (LVC) will be hosting the annual Oakland University Day of Service on Wednesday, Nov. 17 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Students and faculty are encouraged to drop into ballrooms A and B of the Oakland Center (OC) any time throughout the day to participate in various service projects for different organizations in the community.

This year, projects include: making dog and cat toys, writing thank-you cards for blood donors, creating literacy kits for local schools, making fleece blankets for children in need as well as several other tables designated for different projects.

Daryl Blackburn, coordinator of Leadership and Service programs, and Emily Bernas, graduate assistant for Leadership and Service programs, organized this year’s day of service and are excited about the opportunity for students and faculty to volunteer in such a large-scale event.

“[We have] a bunch of different projects for students to participate in and they can stop by anytime,” Bernas said. “They could stay for the whole 12 hours if they wanted to or they could just stop for 15 minutes between their classes just to have something to do. You could show up with a group, by yourself, really whatever you want just to get some volunteering hours.”

By offering projects for 12 hours during the day, they hope to make volunteering more accessible for the OU campus community.

“The biggest reason for running it all day long is so anyone can have the time to come and do it,” Blackburn said. “We could do 11 a.m. or 1 p.m., or a 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. but someone is bound to have class and people work until 5 p.m., so we’re going to miss a group of people. It just allows much more easy access and participation from people because we’re right here on campus.”

Similar to other service events held by the LVC, this year’s OU Day of Service collaborates with different organizations in the surrounding areas to complete projects for their cause.

“For OU Day of Service, we reach out to these different non-profits and we say ‘Hey, what projects can we do for you that we can make, donate and basically do on-site at our campus and give to you later?’” Blackburn said.

Bernas and Blackburn coordinated with Oakland Schools to help assemble literacy kits, Project Linus to make fleece blankets for children in need and the American Red Cross Club to sponsor thank-you cards for blood donors.

Both Bernas and Blackburn are excited to dive back into a day-long service event after the unfortunate downsizing of last year’s day of service as a result of the pandemic. The LVC had seen upwards of 600 participants in years prior but, with the shut-down in 2020, the group was only able to offer grab-and-go kits for those who were still on campus.

OU Day of Service will also feature sponsored tables from student organizations hoping to contribute to a cause they’re enthusiastic about. Bernas said that by providing a location and volunteers, they get to help student organizations with different service projects that they want to do.

“The biggest thing that we try to do is, because it’s harder for a let’s say a group of eight to be able to donate 200 items, the goal is for us to try to use them and help them find something they’re passionate about and be able to give on a bigger scale,” Blackburn said.

Student organizations looking to sponsor a table are welcome to bring their own projects for volunteers to complete or collaborate with the LVC to help with a project that is already intended for the service event.

If a student organization is interested in sponsoring a table for OU Day of Service, Bernas encourages them to get in contact with the LVC to coordinate for the event. No registration is necessary for any students or faculty looking to participate. More information can be found on GrizzOrgs.