Students connect with locals on Make a Difference Day

Students ranging from elementary school to college joined together with members of the local community to help serve Meadville and Crawford County on Allegheny College’s 24th annual Make a Difference Day. Make a Difference Day was held on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 14, and had assembled multiple organizations and groups to help with community  service projects.

The director of civic engagement started Make a Difference Day in the fall of 1994, and the college has been participating ever since.

The Allegheny College Office of Civic Engagement’s mission statement declares their mission is to equip graduate students to be global citizens of a diverse, complex and interconnected world. On average, Allegheny students complete over 60,000 service hours each year. Make a Difference Day is just one of the many ways, like Service Saturday or Senior Citizen Recognition Day, where students can get involved in community service.

Make a Difference Day is hosted by the Office of Civic Engagement and is one major way that the office uses to strive to fulfill their mission statement and bridge the gap between Allegheny students and Meadville communities. This day of service is comprised of over 100 service projects throughout the community.

Students and residents complete tasks such as painting houses, cleaning creeks and helping build ramps. The Office of Civic Engagement expected over 300 Allegheny College students to make their way to Diamond Park on Saturday morning.

Lauren Blakeley, ’20, spent her Saturday morning raking leaves and cleaning the gutters of an elderly woman’s home with the sisters of Alpha Chi Omega.

Being able to connect with the community more and help outside off our small campus was definitely beneficial.

— Lauren Blakeley Class of 2020

“Being able to connect with the community more and help outside of our small campus was definitely beneficial,” Blakeley said.   

Volunteers were separated into two groups of skilled and unskilled workers. Typically, organizations such as fraternities take on the roles of skilled workers and help complete tasks such as building wheelchair ramps and patching roofs for members of the community. Unskilled members completed tasks such as clearing garbage, raking leaves and general maintenance explained Allegheny College’s Bonner Program Coordinator, Ellen Back.

“The goal this year, and in years past, is really to create an impact on that one day, both for the folks who are going out and receiving the service, the community members who have high need projects that might be something that is preventing them from having quality of life, whether that be they need a ramp to be able to get outside and get fresh air or a roof repair, but also the impact on the volunteers and students who get to go out and experience Meadville,” Bach said.   

Many of the college’s clubs and organizations assemble teams to participate on Make a Difference Day. Organizations such as women’s lacrosse, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Alpha Phi Omega were all represented on Saturday.

Elyse Cinquino, ’20, participated as part of Lambda Sigma, the college’s sophomore honor society and helped a local daycare with raking leaves and general maintenance. 

“Especially for Allegheny students, it’s really good to get into the Meadville community and really participate in different service activities and getting to know Meadville residents and different Meadville organizations,” Cinquino said.