Aggies gave back to the community this weekend by volunteering for a number of local projects around campus and the city for the quarterly Weekend of Service.
Students signed up online for events like serving a meal to homeless and low-income people, planting trees at John Barovetto Park, making bracelets and crafts and creating a meadow under the oak grove in the UC Davis Arboretum.
The Weekend of Service, held over Friday and Saturday, was organized by the Community Service Resource Center. What began years ago as an annual “Week of Service” changed in 2008 into one weekend every quarter during which local non-profits could benefit from the coordinated efforts of hundreds of UC Davis students.
Cynthia Goldberg has worked with the Internship and Career Center since 2007 and helps to organize the projects every quarter.
“One of my personal goals for [the weekend] is exactly to connect UC Davis students who most likely do not know the area beyond the university and their apartments to see what rich resources exist in Yolo County and the region,” Goldberg said. “Both the town and the university strive to make Davis a place where we are all well connected and that depends on actively reaching out to create a sense of community.”
This sense of community was evident on Saturday as over 30 volunteers braved mud and rain to plant native grasses in the Peter J. Shields Oak Grove in the Arboretum.
“By this spring we hope to have a meadow that covers the entire area,” said Emily Griswold, project coordinator for the event. “These native grasses grow pretty quickly, so people will be able to appreciate the work we’re doing here today within just a few months.”
The project succeeded in planting about half of one of the several groves of oak trees with 4,000 plugs of native grasses.
Christy Marsden, a graduate student in plant sciences, was excited to see students come out and support the Arboretum.
“People know what they’re in for when they sign up for this and see ‘bring shoes and pants that you don’t mind getting muddy’ on the description,” Marsden said. “It’s great that some students are willing to devote a Saturday afternoon to come learn about some local plant life and make the arboretum a little more beautiful.”
The plantings were part of a larger initiative to develop an Oak Discovery Trail that will have a grand opening on May 2.
Other projects were successful as well, due to a large number of motivated volunteers and the close coordination between the Community Services Resource Center and local project leaders.
“Some projects fill up just one or two days after the sign up lists go live … anything involving hand crafting seems very popular,” Goldberg said. “Quilting, knitting, crocheting, bracelet making and any meals-for-community projects are also very popular.”
Students are encouraged to sign up for the community service listserve at https://iccweb.ucdavis.edu/students/ListServSignup.htm for information about upcoming projects and events.
The Weekend of Service tradition will continue spring quarter on April 24 and 25 with new projects.
BRIAN GERSON can be reached at email@example.com.