By Heather Pearson
On Saturday March 10, the Willamette community is encouraged to participate in WU Global Day of Service. Alongside Into the Streets and Bearcats Give Back, WU Global Day of Service is a large-scale service event planned by staff in the Office of Community Service Learning (CSL). Participants will engage in community service for four hours at local sites, working to share their privilege and strive for equity.
Recognizing how Willamette and its community members are part of these larger histories and social systems, Community Service Learning Lead Coordinator Emma Robinson recognizes that it’s important for individuals to participate in service projects.
“It’s one of the most direct ways in which students can help to dismantle systemic injustices,” Robinson said.
“It’s a way to open yourself up to learning about people’s lives,” she continued. “It’s important to have direct experience, to take your learning beyond the classroom and out into the communities that are directly impacted.”
Last year 228 volunteers worked throughout Salem. They successfully fixed a flooded trail in Bush Park, laid gravel at the Audubon Nature Reserve, painted homes for local people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, packaged food for distribution to food banks, and more. Alumni chapters in Seattle and LA also participated, as did a student group in Ireland.
This global participation sets this event apart. CSL Leaders are intentionally encouraging alumni worldwide to volunteer in their communities on March 10. Everywhere from Baltimore to San Francisco to more international locations currently in the works, individuals will be engaging in work such as creating community toolbanks, restoring butterfly habitats, and packing food at a foodbank.
“This is only the second year of the event, so volunteers will be a part of the formation stages of an event that will hopefully become a long standing tradition not only at Willamette, but all over the world,” explained Robinson.
Students and staff from Willamette can sign up to volunteer in Salem. They will prepare shoes for unhoused youth, help with maintenance at the Boys and Girls Club, work in Salem parks, tend crops at a community garden, and pack food with Marion Polk Food Share, among other projects.
Robinson encourages clubs and organizations to volunteer as groups. “Service is a great team work activity, enabling a sense of civic responsibility in team dynamic.”
The event will occur on Saturday March 10 from 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Participants at Willamette will receive a free T-shirt and are invited to a reception with free pizza. Individuals interested in applying can sign up at bit.do/serviceblooms.