April volunteer day comes to Northern

christine.doherty

This Saturday, April 4, groups of students will work around the Marquette area to give back to the community and provide some spring cleaning.

The event, titled”Spring into Service,” will match student groups from Northern with service opportunities at local, non-profit organizations throughout the day.

The event was created by members of NMU’s Volunteer Center as a way for student organizations to participate in a campus-wide service event in the spring.

“We have Make A Difference Day in the fall, and we thought it would be a good idea to have a mirror event in the spring,” said Nicole Weber, a co-coordinator of the Volunteer Center and senior community health education major.

“When we mentioned it, people seemed really excited about it and so it just kind of grew out of that.”

There are 41 student groups, such as Mortar Board, a national senior honor society, and Spooner Hall slated to work on different projects throughout the community. Some places they will be working at are the Marquette Children’s Museum, Habitat for Humanity, Beacon House, Eastwood Nursing Home and the Jacobetti Home for Veterans. The projects will vary from helping to build a house or raking leaves to serving food and sitting with residents of a nursing home.

Linda Storms from the U.P. Sled Dog Association, and a community coordinator for one of the projects, will be working with students to move wooden barricades from a small storage facility to a larger one.

Storms and the Sled Dog Association have worked with Northern students before in putting on the annual U.P. 200 Sled Dog Race.

“We rely heavily on student volunteers for our event in order for it to be successful,” said Storms. “It’s important for students to be involved in the community because we can’t rely on our members entirely, we need help form other places.”

Storms also said she believes that volunteering can benefit the participating students as well the community.

“(Volunteering) shows students strengths or weaknesses within themselves, and bring out attributes they didn’t think they had,” said Storms. “It can expose them to things that they might not think they were interested in and to experiences that they might not have normally been receptive to.”

Because this is the first year for Spring into Service, the Volunteer Center had a little more difficulty finding volunteer opportunities for students than for Make A Difference Day, but it was just a matter of making the information available, said Weber.

“We had 320 students who signed up to participate and we originally we only had a request for 150 volunteers,” said Weber. “What we then did was contact more places, and when we called them a lot of places were really excited and we easily found enough.”

Angela Neumann, a senior, accounting major at Northern, will do yard work with Mortar Board through the Spring into Service program. She has done community service in the past and said that, through volunteering, students gain more than another line on their resume.

“Service gives students a feeling of worth,” said Neumann. “I don’t think students get enough of that and when you volunteer you can see the joy in someone else’s face. It makes you feel good and motivated that you helped somebody and you can use that experience in so many other places in your life.”

The event will be sponsored by NMU’s Volunteer Center, as well as NMU’s Dining Services and the volunteer coordinators of Marquette.