MARIETTA - On Saturday, Marietta College will once again be part of a worldwide mission to improve the lives of others in Make a Difference Day, the largest day of community service in the nation.
Make a Difference Day will be coordinated by the McDonough Center's Office of Civic Engagement, now led by new director Maribeth Saleem-Tanner. This will be her first time experiencing Make a Difference Day. Saleem-Tanner has organized other national days of service in the past, but says this one is unique because of its "scale and scope" -more than 300 volunteers will be sent to 20 different service sites.
"I think sometimes people imagine that you really have to convince or cajole students to volunteer and get involved, but that hasn't been my experience at Marietta at all," Saleem-Tanner said. "Students want to be engaged, and seeing their desire to be out in the community is exciting."
In addition to the OCE, student organizations have planned projects for Saturday, including Alpha Tao Omega, Cross Country and the Psychology Club. Twelve of the 20 projects have been planned by members of the newest cohort of students in the McDonough Leadership Program through the LEAD 101 classes.
The OCE has partnerships with other community organizations that appreciate the extra help. One of these is the Wood County Habitat for Humanity, where students will come to build housing for underprivileged families.
Habitat's Executive Director Alvin Phillips said he is excited to work with the students and plans to talk to them about the holistic, long-term impact of their service. Phillips said he wants them to leave "with a feeling of accomplishment" and know that their help really does impact what Habitat for Humanity does.
"Marietta College has always been a really good partner with us," he said. "We're glad that we can help them and they can help us."
Students wanting to volunteer for Make a Difference Day can check in at the Kremer Amphitheatre at 8 a.m. Saturday to be assigned a service site. The OCE will be giving away T-shirts to the first 400 volunteers.