Students helped clean up the community this past Saturday, April 12 at Be the Change, sponsored by the Student Involvement and Employment Office.
Be the Change is SIEO’s largest volunteer event of the year. Usually about 100 students come together to make the Stevens Point area and campus a cleaner and safer place. This year was the largest registration yet with over 180 students signed up to volunteer.
Students participate for two to three hours on a Saturday morning and volunteers also receive a free breakfast provided by the SIEO office.
Kirsten Donkle is the service events coordinator for SIEO. She said that Be the Change was started about seven years ago.
“It is a day of giving back from students as a way of thanking Stevens Point for welcoming us into their community,” Donkle said.
In the past, Be the Change has volunteered at Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army Hope Center, St. Vincent de Paul, Oakridge Senior Living, the Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum, Dressed to Work, YMCA, St. Francis Horse Rescue, and others.
Junior Katie Morici got involved with this event her freshmen year at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point while working for SIEO.
“I enjoy volunteering, so I jumped on the opportunity and have been to every Be the Change since,” Morici said.
At Be the Change, students can sign up to volunteer in groups or as individuals.
“We have a lot of Greek and student organizations participate, but we also have a lot of groups of friends volunteer together as well,” Donkle said.
They are then matched to one of 12 sites in the Stevens Point area. Students went to various locations in the community including the fire station, children’s museum, assisted living facilities, cap services, the YMCA, and the Hope Center.
Some students picked up trash on campus as well as other odd jobs that needed doing. Another group got to make cookies at an assisted living facility.
Adam Cadena is one of the students who volunteered on Saturday.
“You’d be surprised at how much trash there is on the ground. You don’t notice it until you’re looking for it,” Cadena said.
Cadena said he was eager to volunteer before graduating in May.
“The weather was rough because it was cold and rainy, but it was a great experience and I’m glad I did it. It’s good to be doing something positive,” Cadena said.
“Many students are eager to go and serve, especially after a long winter,” Morici said.