Weber State University students will have the opportunity to participate in Make a Difference Day this Saturday through projects in the community hosted by the WSU Community Involvement Center.
Make a Difference Day is the nation’s largest day of community service. This year marks 20 years since it was founded by USA Weekend magazine. WSU has been participating in Make a Difference Day for several years.
This year, WSU will do two service projects in honor of Make a Difference Day, both of which will be done off campus in an effort to clean up the community.
Chelsea Bacon, Special Olympics chair for the Volunteer Involvement Program, helped put the event together. She said she thinks doing service in the community is just as important as doing service on campus.
“It is important to give back to the community, because they do a lot for us,” Bacon said.
Volunteers will meet at 9 a.m. in the S4 parking lot on the Ogden campus to do maintenance on trails and workout areas located east of the Facilities Management Building. Participants will clean up the trail and exercise areas, fill in some areas with mulch, and repair and replace trail signs.
The rest of the event will be held at Antelope Island beginning at 10 a.m. Shuttle service will be provided for students from the first part of the event and all others can meet at the park’s boat dock.
Laura Preece, Special Service and Events chair, said it will be a source of pride for students who are able to come and help beautify the trails.
“That trail is so close to us that you can go and enjoy the trail and know that you took part in making it look good,” she said.
Volunteers at Antelope Island will help remove tamarisk, an invasive plant species. This part of the project was planned in collaboration with Water Works, a program created this year and dedicated to educating students and community members about water preservation.
Tamarisk is a non-native species of shrub brought to the Western US from Eurasia. The plant uses a lot of ground water and nutrients and has a negative impact on the native habitat. A mature tamarisk plant can be up to 25 feet tall and intake up to 200 gallons of water per day.
“Antelope Island is in a desert area, so removing the tamarisk is very important, as it would reserve a lot of water and allow it to be used by native plants,” said Trevor Annis, the assistant director of the Volunteer Involvement Program.
Students and members of the community are invited to participate in this event. Last year, more than 130 students participated in the day of service. This year, the CIC and Volunteer Involvement Program hope to bring in a lot more volunteers. Free breakfast and T-shirts will be provided to the first 100 participants.
Annis said he thinks it is important to volunteer to beautify the community.
“We live in a beautiful place,” he said, “and part of the reason this area is so pretty is because of people coming together and working to keep it that way.”