Stevenson University students, faculty and staff gathered together on Sept. 16 for a campus-wide day of service at the second annual Mustangs Make a Difference Day.
Organizations around campus provided interactive service stations behind the Ratcliffe Community Center at Owings Mills where the Stevenson community could participate.
This year there were 22 stations and over 365 attendees, according to Morgan Somerville, the campus director of student engagement.
Stations at the event supported a specific community partner of the university. Community partners included the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority, who hosted a book drive for the Maryland Book Bank; the Human Services Club coupled with Operation Welcome Home Maryland to create “Welcome Home” signs for soldiers; and the women’s ice hockey team, who created flash cards for inner city youth attending John Rurah Elementary/Middle School.
“The intention of Mustangs Make a Difference Day is to provide an easily accessible day of service for the Stevenson community without ever having to leave the campus,” said Somerville.
Emma Ragon, a student assistant in the Office of Service Learning, has been involved in Mustangs Make a Difference day for the past two years. “The day gives the opportunity to make a difference on campus, but the cool thing is that what they’re doing on campus actually benefits other organizations and non-profits off campus,” said Ragon, adding that service makes Stevenson a more “well-rounded” university overall.
According to Somerville, Mustangs Make a Difference Day is based on the ‘Day to Serve’ which is a yearly movement that began in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and D.C. to motivate people to get involved in service events each year.
In past years, Stevenson sponsored Build Community Day, during which students participated in off-campus service projects in the community. Build Community Day ended in 2013 and left Stevenson without a day of service in 2014. In 2015, business communication students teamed up to create Mustangs Make a Difference Day, according to Somerville and Ragon.
“It’s just a really great day of spreading goodness out to the community,” said Somerville. “I know our community partners see Stevenson as a resource. They see us as a support network and a partner in the community, so this is just another way to bring Stevenson students and our non-profits together.”
Somerville added that along with providing a day of service, Mustangs Make a Difference Day is a great way to expose students, faculty and staff to current happenings in the community.
“It’s cool to see the power of what we all do when we come together… it’s nice to know when you are a part of something bigger than yourself,” Somerville said.
Students who are interested in this type of service, but did not get the chance to participate in Mustangs Make a Difference Day, still have opportunities to help out in the community. Stevenson University provides many options for service. Students can host a community service event within a club or organization, take a service learning class or join service clubs such as United Way and Mission I’m Home.