Coming together through community service

Students will gather for a day of community service around the Corvallis area on Make a Difference Day this Saturday, Oct. 22. 

Make a Difference Day at Oregon State University will be held on the 22nd of October. Nationally, it is a day where people focus on a common goal, to make a difference in their communities. It is known as one of the largest national days for community service.

TEGNA Inc. funds the TEGNA foundation that allows Make a Difference Day to be possible through their Community Grant Program.

Steve Kidera, a spokesman for TEGNA foundation talks about how Make a Difference came to be.

“Make A Difference Day started with a simple idea,” said Kidera. “1992 was a Leap Year and February 29 fell on a Saturday. So we encouraged people to spend their extra day doing something good for someone else.”

OSU is among many colleges that are involved in this event. Jessie Li, the Internal Coordinator for the Center for Civic Engagement on campus, encourages students to get involved.

“This is our 6th time hosting Make a Difference Day at Oregon State,” said Li. “In order to get the word out to the students and staff on campus, we advertise in our weekly newsletter, and print posters that we post around campus.”

There are five different local projects that volunteers can participate in. The list includes: Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Corvallis Parks and Recreation, Growing Food Security, Craft N’ Care and Produce for the People.

Sue Domingues has been involved with Produce for the People since it started as an OSU research project where they taught low income youth how to garden.

“We rely heavily on OSU for our volunteers and Make a Difference Day is a big part of our summer garden clean up and prep for winter,” said Domingues, “We have had volunteers in the past from Make a Difference Day for at least a couple of years.”

After the research project, the garden now teaches people how to garden and donate fresh produce to low income individuals and agencies.

To find more information about signing up for any of the projects, visit the OSU website for Make a Difference Day. After registration, check in at the Student Experience Center plaza on the day of the event.

“What makes Make a Difference Day so great is that any person, no matter their age or background, can make a lasting impact,” said Kidera. “The day brings together coworkers, friends, family, neighbors and strangers; they unite on projects large and small to improve the lives of others in their community.”