Students to make a beautiful day in the neighborhood

Students on park cleanup duty during a day of service last year

No weed will be safe, no litter will rest easy when more than 250 UO students take to nearby streets and parks on their biannual CommUniversity Day of Service.

Students from Fraternity and Sorority Life, IMPACT and CommUniversity join up for seven service projects Saturday, Jan. 30, as part of an effort to give back to the community in which they live. They will be joined by UO President Michael Schill and Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy and other community partners for the annual spruce-up.

“We have found it incredibly important to give back to the Eugene-Springfield community to show our appreciation for the support they provide university students throughout the year,” said Kelsey Fuson, a UO student and community engagement leader on the Panhellenic and Intrafraternity councils. “This also allows us to strengthen campus-community relations.”

Among the projects: restoring natural areas in Alton Baker Park, doing landscaping and path maintenance in Washburne Park, removing invasive ivy in Hendricks Park, picking up trash in the West University Neighborhood, deep cleaning at the White Bird Medical Clinic and cleaning the Boys and Girls Club of Emerald Valley.

Students will work with community volunteers with guidance by Nearby Nature and Eugene Parks and Open Space staff and other facility directors. This year’s winter day of service is the first time the three organizations — FSL, IMPACT and CommUniversity — have joined together for community action.

“CommUniversity's Day of Service is one of the best opportunities for students to help out the community they live in,” said Andrew Weiss, another student community engagement leader. “It allows them to make an immediate impact in a positive way and feel good about it as well.”

Volunteers will gather at the Ford Alumni Center starting at 9 a.m. to get their assignments and equipment and hear opening remarks from the president and mayor. Work begins at 10 a.m. and is expected to be complete by 1 p.m.

CommUniversity is a program in the Office of the Dean of Students that brings together students living off campus to help them solve problems and be good neighbors. IMPACT — which stands for Intercultural Mentoring Program Advancing Community Ties — connects first-year students with older students to help ease the transition to university life.

“The Day of Service is win-win for students and the greater community,” said Karen Hyatt, UO director of local, community and neighborhood relations. “Students build a connection to their community through improving it, and our community partners experience first-hand our great and caring UO students.”