Resident assistants, intercultural aides, community coordinators and residence education staff members gathered at the rock on Farm Lane Monday morning to kick off the second annual MSU Day of Service: Taking it to the Streets.
Hundreds of staff members and students spent the day mulching, weeding and cleaning in low-income areas of Lansing.
“(We) had this idea to take our students into the community as part of their training,” said Ashley Chaney, assistant director of communications for Residence Education and Housing Services. “It’s so important to be involved in the community, and that extends beyond the campus. It’s just a really good learning element opportunity for the students to put themselves in the community, where they may not be so comfortable, but to really connect with people and give back.”
After a brief welcome from staff members, students broke into groups to begin their day of service. Music was playing to get students excited, while staff members spoke about the importance of volunteering and the positive feedback they received from the community last year.
“This shows our commitment to creating student Spartans in a global society and serving the local community as well,” said Mackenzie Fritz, associate director of Residence Education. “This is them taking the skills they’ve learned in the hall and putting it out there to the whole local community.”
Students went to locations such as Hildebrandt Housing, 3122 N. Turner St., and EVE’s Domestic Shelter, where they painted, planted flowers, weeded and replaced mulch. They also took part in children’s activities and a feeding program. Last year, students clocked in about 4,000 hours of service in one day, Frintz said.
“We’re just trying to give back to the community, because I mean we’re not from here necessarily, some of us are, but we find it important to give back to the community because they give so much to us by letting us come to their home and live here for like nine months throughout the year,” physiology senior and resident assistant Mike Vanfleteren said. “I think it’s important to give back.”
This year, students volunteered at nine different sites, a decrease from the nearly 30 sites last year. Staff members hope this will allow students to engage and get to know those they are serving, assistant director of Resident Housing and Communication Services Joshua Gillespie said.
“We’re going beyond the walls of MSU and giving back, because that’s what it’s all about,” Gillespie said. “It’s about serving.”
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