Students, alumni, and staff of Willamette were out in full force last Saturday, March 11th, for the WU 175 Day of Service and Social Pow wow. With 11 different service trips available, many of which filled up, those who volunteered were able to impact the community in a variety of ways, from cleaning up the youth homeless shelter to working with horses.
An impressive 228 volunteers from the university dedicated 4 hours of a rainy Saturday to improving several aspects of the Salem community by doing hands-on work in support of local causes.
At the Audubon Nature Reserve, students carried out several projects including laying gravel in order to maintain a trail on the reserve.
I was fortunate enough to interview freshman Lydia Savelli (pictured below), an avid volunteer and intern for the office of CSL. We discussed the nature of the service performed and Lydia informed me that the trail had been flooded and as a result was rendered useless of runners park-goers.
“There aren’t a lot of resources to upkeep Bush Park, so having volunteers come do the work of maintaining the park and making it a place people can be and enjoy is very important. Now people can run on the trail and it just looks much nicer than it did.”
Meanwhile, other volunteers aided Catholic Commmunity Services in painting the interior of homes for intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals. There are 15 homes around the Salem area, all of which provide 24/7 support to their residents. Thanks to our diligent volunteers, residents and workers in theses homes can now enjoy a new, colorful interior.
Other volunteers packaged bulk food supplies for the Marion Polk Food Share’s warehouse. For volunteers at the Food Share, which has firmly established roots as a member of the Salem community since 1968, with over 100 partner agencies, there was much work to be done in packaging food for distribution, but those on the service trip approached the challenge with smiling faces nonetheless and enjoyed a successful trip.
Additionally several alumni chapters from Seattle to Los Angeles organized for days of service to show their support for WU. However, the event did not just occur nationally, as several students studying abroad in Ireland participated in a WU 175 beach clean up, making this an international service event.
Other trips included: Willamette Humane Society, Shangri-La, Salem Keizer Education Foundation, Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network, HOME Youth Homeless Shelter, City of Salem Parks, and Community Garden.