UConn to participate in statewide 'Make a Difference Week' initiative

In this photo, the exterior of the UConn Division of Student Affairs office is seen in the Student Union. (Jackson Haigis/The Daily Campus)

The University of Connecticut will give back to the community by participating in “Make a Difference Week,” with multiple volunteer opportunities available from Oct. 18 to Oct. 24.

Make a Difference Day, Oct 24, is a statewide initiative to encourage volunteer work for communities across Connecticut, particularly for Connecticut Public Schools for Higher Education. It is also a recognized event nationwide.

"This October 24th, millions of volunteers across the nation will unite with a common mission – to improve the lives of others," USA Today said on their website. Make a Difference Day is hosted by the publication.

Volunteer work at UConn, however, is done year round, according to Sara Cook, program coordinator of Community Outreach at the Storrs campus. This week is a highlight for what UConn already does for the community.

All volunteer opportunities for the week have already been filled, according to the registration page. This demonstrates how willing students are to volunteer, according to Cook.

"It's a very positive outcome for everyone," Cook said.

More than 60 students will participate in these opportunities that allows for the needs of the community to be met in an effective way, she said.

On Thursday, Oct. 22, Community Outreach will participate in the Jumpstart program, which is aimed to improve the literacy of children, according to their website. Also, Connecticut Students for a Dream’s (C4D) Willimantic/Storrs regional meeting will be taking place at Windham High School to speak about immigration and undocumented people in local communities, according to Cook.

On Saturday, Oct. 24, volunteer work will be done at multiple locations. At Camp Horizons in South Windham, volunteers will be setting up camp including organizing arts and crafts and taking inventory. Farm maintenance will be done on Mitchell Farm in Salem, according to Community Outreach's calendar of service days.

A service day will be done for students in Management and Engineering for Manufacturing (MEM) where work will be done take place CLiCK, a commercial kitchen in Windham this weekend, said Cook.

For those unable to participate in these events, aid in the community can be done on UConn's campuses with Swipe a Meal. "Give a Meal" Day will be on Wednesday, Oct. 21 in which students will have the chance to donate to local outreaches like the Covenant Soup Kitchen and the Mansfield Shelter. This can be done by swiping a card and donating a flex pass between 4:15 P.M. to 7:15 P.M. at all residential dining halls.

Although there is also room for improvement in terms of reaching out to other parts of the university, UConn already does so much for the community, according to Cook.

"This week brings awareness about what great things institutes are doing," she said.

Other universities are planning out events and projects for the week, something UConn has already done, she said.

"This week is highlighting what we already do. We're ahead of the game," Cook said.

Student volunteer work for the community will be highlighted via social media and t-shirts will be distributed to participants involved.


Daniela Doncel is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at daniela.doncel@uconn.edu.