Graphic by Joleigh Martinez/NW
Since 1992, Make a Difference Day has been recognized every fourth Saturday of October as a national holiday dedicated to volunteering. Northern Michigan University’s contribution to this tradition has been raking leaves for the Marquette community, specifically the disabled and the elderly.
“The point of the event is to do charitable service for someone else,” Superior Edge volunteer center coordinator Amber Essenmacher said. “Here in Marquette, our community supports NMU students so much, what would be better than giving back to them for MADD?”
Community members that would like their yards raked sign up ahead of time to be a part of Make a Difference Day as well. A week before the event, participating student groups get assigned to a specific home and contact them to arrange a time to rake their leaves.
This year, Make a Difference Day falls on Oct. 23 and over 700 NMU students will spread out over Marquette on Saturday morning with rakes and yard waste bags.
“Personally, I love seeing so many students in one place to do humbling work,” Essenmacher said. “Not many college students would get up at dawn to rake leaves in the cold.”
The event starts at 8 a.m. when will participants pick up rakes, t-shirts and free breakfast that is provided by NMU Dining Services. The students normally sign up with their student organization or social group and make memories volunteering together.
“MADD reminds me that we have some amazing students on our campus,” Essenmacher said. “I also think that some of the best memories for student organizations can and have been made through MADD.”