Sign-ups open soon for Duck Corps student service projects

Students working at a farm

Registration for Duck Corps, the program organized by the Holden Center that helps UO students volunteer in the community, opens March 27, the first day of spring break.

Members of Duck Corps work in small teams, participating in weekly, hands-on service projects that promote community-building and reflective engagement with local community organizations that are making a positive difference. Registration closes April 7.

An experienced team lead serves as the main contact between the Holden Center, community partners and the student team, providing on-site leadership for the groups.

“The premise of it really was to make it easier for students to engage in volunteer service,” said Jordan Katcher, the program coordinator. “Instead of having to worry about how to get there, what projects to do, who to reach out to, we wanted to take care of all the logistics while also providing a team dynamic.”

To register, just go to the Duck Corps website and look at the descriptions for the spring teams. If you see one you’d like to join, click “register” to be added to the list. Teams are limited to between four and nine spots per team and it’s first come, first served, so interested students should move quickly.

Six teams are currently spread across five focus areas: education, public health, Sustainability, poverty alleviation and human rights, but in the spring the number will go to eight and Katcher is looking to keep expanding.

“Ideally, I’d eventually like to have 10 teams — two for each of the five service categories — that are all on the same time and same days throughout the whole academic year,” she said. “Just so students don’t have to wait until the last minute to figure out the scheduling.”

One of the new teams this term is Friends of Trees, an organization focused on bringing people together to plant and care for urban trees and natural areas.

“Apparently 20 percent of trees planted in the Eugene area are ripped up — people just grab newly-planted trees and take them out,” Katcher said. “So we’re hoping that through this Duck Corp team just having more of a presence in the community, people can see them actively watering these trees and maybe they’ll think about it and stop someone if they see them messing with the trees.”

Duck Corps is a fairly new addition to the UO campus, but so far it’s been a successful one.

“I love it because the students aren’t doing it for credit, they’re not doing it for money,” Katcher said. “It’s just students who want to serve. They’re the best. They have passion, and that shows during the service.”

—By Noah Ripley, University Communications