Community Service Day 2014

More than 200 students are expected to lend a hand to 11 different nonprofit organizations for Marietta College’s Community Service Day on April 5.

The college has been coordinating the event for more than 20 years through the Office of Civic Engagement within the McDonough Center for Leadership and Business, which stresses the importance of community service and reflection on social and community needs.

In an area known for its extensive service projects, volunteers will be reaching out in Marietta, Belpre and into Parkersburg to brighten up parks and help those in need.

“It’s a great way for the college community to give back to the rest of the community,” said Daley Buckwell, a sophomore who is coordinating the event for the second time. “We’re an integral part but sometimes we put ourselves in a bubble where we’re not interacting with the community as much as we should, and this is a chance to build up those relationships.”

Buckwell said though some majors, organizations and extra-curricular activities, like her own international studies major, require community service, many just come to help out on their own terms.

“It helps the community and it helps us, because often these are projects that individual organizations cannot complete on their own,” she said.

This year, volunteers will go to sites tied to 11 different nonprofit organizations.

Students and community members will be holding a book drive at the Ely Chapman Education Foundation and working with volunteers at the Betsey Mills Club.

Just in time for spring, projects also include clean-up, gardening and landscaping for the Kroger Wetlands, Belpre Area Ministries, Marietta Cemeteries Coming Alive, Marietta Main Street, Marietta in Bloom, the Marietta Tree Commission and Washington County Harvest of Hope.

“We call it our clean sweep when we get ready for spring,” said Jean G. Farmer, executive director of Marietta Main Street. “We’ll be sweeping, tidying up the whole area, including Harmar Village. It’s mostly about getting everything crisp.”

The college will also be holding a collection drive for United Way to raise money for baby care items and doing construction work at the Mid-Ohio Valley Players Theatre.

“This year there is a big focus on beautification and planting flowers,” Buckwell said.

Lauren Morain, also a sophomore, is co-coordinating the event.

“It’s a perfect way for the college community to connect with the Marietta community on a deeper level,” she said in a press release.

Buckwell said that though the college’s focus is on student participation, anyone from the community can contact any of the service partners to get involved in individual service projects.

“We’re inviting everyone else to come out as well; anyone who wants to help,” Farmer said. “We’ll start at Armory Square at 8 a.m.; just bring your lunch.”

Students should pre-register for the event, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., by visiting the Office of Civic Engagement or contacting Lauren Morain, lcm003@marietta.edu, or Daley Buckwell, dwb004@marietta.edu.