Students raking it in for community

Brendan Lyons

Make A Difference Day on Saturday Oct. 25, allows NMU students the opportunity to interact with the community while performing needed chores, like raking leaves and cleaning gutters. The annual event, organized by the university’s Volunteer Center, aims to connect students and involve them in projects outside campus. The project will take place throughout neighborhoods in Marquette, Negaunee, Ishpeming, Harvey and Gwinn, according to the Center for Student Enrichment.

re-Make a Difference File Photo4

Volunteers will receive a list of residents who need assistance completing household tasks and lawn care. The Make A Difference Day program is a national effort promoting a variety of neighborhood volunteer projects created by USA Weekend Magazine. It has become the nation’s largest national day of community service, according to the organization’s website.

Coordinator of the Center for Student Enrichment, Hannah Lewis, has been working on this year’s project and explained how the process influences the community.

“Make A Difference Day provides peace of mind since [residents] can’t do it themselves,” Lewis said. “They can hire out but most can’t afford it.” The Volunteer Center has received over 240 requests from residents living in Marquette County for this year.

“Students can learn more of the needs outside of campus and be a responsible citizen,” Lewis said. “Obviously we want students to have a good time. A lot of the time people will bake them cookies.” Ellie DeMarse, a junior Spanish and ecology double major, said she plans to return for her third year to Make A Difference Day.

“I like to do what I can to help others,” DeMarse said. “Make A Difference Day is a great opportunity to do that.” DeMarse said she first participated in Make A Difference Day two years ago with her residence hall house, a community within her campus dormitory hall. As current Halverson Hall president she wants to encourage other residents in Halverson to participate.

“It’s a great way to bond and help others,” DeMarse said. “Northern is a big part of the Marquette area and it’s a great community to live in.” Freshman Dré McLeod,an Environmental Studies and Sustainability major, said he plans to participate in Make A Difference Day for the first time this year.

“When I first heard about Make A Difference Day, my house was planning to return to help a veteran,” McLeod said. “I thought it would be better time spent to go help somebody rather than have an average weekend.”

Like other students on campus, McLeod registered for Make A Difference Day with his house, Mt. Olympus, in West Hall. Joe Weickert, a senior computer science and mathematics double major, said he registered with Spooner Hall to volunteer for Make A Difference Day.

“I think it’s something everyone should do once,” Weickert said. “It’s only a couple of hours of your time and it means a lot to some people.” This will be Weickert’s second year participating in Make A Difference Day. Weickert said his experience last year was positive. “It was nice to see how many people showed up and how positive everyone was at 7:30 a.m.,” Weickert said.

Weickert said he enjoyed seeing all of the students getting involved in the community.

“It’s extremely important for Northern to be a part of the Marquette community given the number of people at NMU and the population of Marquette,” Weickert said.

Make A Difference Day will be held on Saturday, Oct. 25, starting at 8 a.m. at the University Center. Students volunteering for the event will be able to receive a free breakfast in the Great Lakes Room that morning and a free t-shirt while they last. Rakes will also be made available for volunteers to use throughout the day. Lewis said she encourages students interested in Make A Difference Day to participate.

“It’s such a fun day and the shirts look really cool too,” she said.