For Make a Difference Day on Oct. 27, students and community members cleaned up a trail behind the Facilities Management Building and removed damaging plants from Antelope Island.
Make a Difference Day is a national day of service, and the Weber State University event is hosted by the Community Involvement Center. The event was available to students, clubs and organizations at WSU and members of the community. The volunteers were given free breakfast and the first 100 volunteers to get there received free T-shirt.
The volunteers had the option of either working on the WSU trail or going to Antelope Island. Ogden City contacted the CIC and told them that people complained about the quality of the trail.
“It’s important to the community and the trail gets a lot of use,” said Mike Moon, the assistant director of the CIC. “Every time that I’ve personally been up here helping with it, there have been bikers, joggers, dog walkers going along the trail.”
The volunteers leveled the trail because of erosion, filled the exercise pits with mulch to make them safer, and improved other parts of the trail. The exercise pits are placed every 200-300 feet on the trail.
“It was really dirty before,” said volunteer Amy Boudesocque. “It’s nice to make the trail clean so people can come and use it.”
Pascal Friedmann, a journalism major who recently moved to Utah from Germany, also volunteered at the trail.
“It’s important to have them in good shape so people will use them,” he said.
Friedmann also said he didn’t know the trails were there and that he would consider using them to exercise.
Organizations from WSU also volunteered. Black Scholars United often volunteers, according to the club president, Melussew Aflegn. Besides Make a Difference Day, Black Scholars United has also volunteered at the HIV testing and helped get people to register to vote.
Moon said the group would not finish the trail by the end of the day, but other groups will come in and continue to fix the trail. A scout group has been fixing the signs and awnings, and another group will replace some of the signs and exercise elements. There have also been some service projects at the trail in the past, like for the Leadership Conference.
“It’s a combined effort,” Moon said.
The other group took shuttles over to Antelope Island and removed tamarisk, a harmful, non-native plant that drinks a lot of natural spring water. Moon said the plants drink up an enormous amount of water from the springs that the native animals need.
“It’s a national day of service; it’s a much bigger movement,” Moon said. “I think it gives students the sense of the power of numbers and how groups of individuals all over our nation can gather to make a difference. Personally, I think students will leave with a higher sense of pride in our campus, and certainly of the trail, and make new friends and camaraderie.”