Making a difference

Maggie Saemann

Last year, more than 1,200 NMU students from about 150 student organizations came together to rake yards and clean up leaves on a rainy October day in the Upper Peninsula.

re-makeadifferenceday-etOn Oct. 22, NMU students will do the same for 245 local houses that have already signed up for this year’s Make a Difference Day.

Make a Difference Day is a National community service event held on the fourth Saturday in October each year.  Since 1992, millions of volunteers have come together each year with a single purpose: to improve the lives of others. 

Although projects vary by location, NMU has participated since 2009 by raking leaves for local homes and has more and more students participate each year, said Holly Roth, Volunteer Center and Superior Edge coordinator.

“We always get a good turn out,” said Roth.  “It’s one of the easiest ways to get involved in your community and have fun doing it.”

Roth said students can sign up in a student organization or individually and credits the success of the event to the satisfaction students feel helping others.

“The best part about Make a Difference Day is seeing the gratitude and how happy [the homeowners] are. You can see the change right there when you’re done,” Roth said.

Khalil Rasheed, a junior physical eduation major, has participated in Make a Difference Day twice already with Black Student Union and is excited to participate for the third time this year.

“My favorite part of Make a Difference Day is seeing the students’ determination to help out the community regardless of the weather conditions,” said Rasheed, referring to the rainy, muddy conditions Make a Difference Day has become famous for having at NMU.

Nicole Smith, sophomore neuroscience major will participate in Make a Difference Day this year, too. Smith participated last year with her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta.

“My favorite part last year was when another group was finished with their assigned house and came to help us.  There was such a surge of energy when they arrived and it was so much fun,” said Smith.

Smith plans to participate with Hogwarts House in Spalding Hall this year and said she looks forward to being able to volunteer with her friends and housemates.

“You get a free T-shirt, a good arm workout and the satisfaction of being helpful and feeling appreciated,” Smith said. “Why wouldn’t you