The season of giving is just around the corner. Students had the chance to kick it off with Make a Difference Day on Oct. 25.

The Center for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL) hosts a variety of service projects each year that Weber State students have the opportunity to participate in.

One of the big events is Make a Difference Day, which reaches out to both the community and the world. At 8 a.m. on Oct. 25, 113 volunteers packaged 11,400 meals for hungry people in less privileged countries.

“We always facilitate a Make a Difference Day project so that our students here at Weber State, as well as members of our community, recognize that the service they are doing is really contributing to a large whole,” said Brenda Kowalewski, director of the Center for Community Engaged Learning.

WSU partnered with an organization called Stop Hunger Now, which works with international partners that ship and distribute the meals within the country they were shipped to.

Despite the struggling country’s efforts to feed the needy, especially children, it is estimated that about 13 percent of Argentina’s population is malnourished. (Diego Giudice/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service)

The program works two different ways. The school can choose to have students package the food and take it on a service trip, delivering the food themselves, or students can package the food and send it through Stop Hunger Now.

Originally WSU planned to conduct a service trip to Africa, but that option fell through because the students were unable to get into the country. It was decided that the packages would be sent with Stop Hunger Now.

WSU will find out where the packages it packed will be sent once Stop Hunger Now has decided which country is most in need.

“I think that it is so beneficial (for students) because they have a way of interacting with other people who are also passionate about service,” said Erika McDonald, WSUSA special services event chair. “It’s a way to network and it’s character building for students.”

CCEL hosts other events such as the Angel Tree during the holiday season. The Angel Tree will go up Nov. 17 in the atrium.

This gives students, faculty and staff the opportunity to pick a child and buy them a present for Christmas. This present can either be something they are in need of or a toy they want.

CCEL will collect the gifts from under the tree and give them to the Salvation Army, where they will be distributed to the children.

Another service option that students can participate in is Done-in-a-Day. This is an option that may work for students who have limited time but still have the desire to participate in service on campus.

Done-in-a-Day happens on Tuesdays from 2-4 p.m. in the Shepherd Union buildingin Room 327. There are various options such as, American Red Cross blood drives, domestic and international humanitarian aid projects, Sub for Santa and Toys for Tots.

“Most of our work, it’s great because students are able to apply the knowledge they are learning in classrooms in a way that benefits our community,” said Mike Moon, assistant director at the Center for Community Engaged Learning.


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