Serve the community and make a difference


Dina Daltorio

Volunteers at last year’s Make a Difference Day.

By Julian Curet, [email protected]

In the print version of this article, it is wrongly implied that one can register for the work one wants to do on Make A Difference Day at the event itself. This is not the case. Rather, one must go to the website ( by 5 p.m. this Friday, Sept. 30, where registration takes place. 

This Friday, Sept. 30, is the deadline to register with The University of Akron’s Center for Service and Leadership (CSL) to take part in Make A Difference Day. On Oct. 22, students, faculty, and members of the community will fan out into Summit County and team up with close to 40 local nonprofit agencies to perform acts of service for others.

Students should go to by 5 p.m. on Friday to register. There, volunteers can register as individuals or groups, choose which shift to work, and decide if they would like a leadership position for the day. There is no cost involved; only a donation of time.

Make A Difference Day is a nationally recognized day of service.  It began in 1992 when USA Weekend, a division of news outlet USA Today, suggested that readers spend a day helping others. Since then, every fourth Saturday of October, millions of people do just that.

unnamed-1Dina Daltorio

These days, the media company TEGNA Inc., formerly known as Gannett Co. Inc., coordinates the nationwide effort with the nonprofit organization Points of Light.

In 2013, the University received an award from USA Weekend (owned by TEGNA Inc.), Points of Light, and Newman’s Own for its service. This award included $10,000 from Newman’s Own, which the University then donated to United Way of Summit County.

The Oct. 22 event will begin at 7 a.m. Leaders will help volunteers with check-in, transportation, and as table leaders.

Other individuals and groups are assigned to specific tables in the Student Union ballrooms as they arrive, where they’re provided with information about each site. One volunteer is chosen as the “point person” and given an envelope containing information on the site, the agency liaison’s contact information, and emergency contacts.

The day is divided into two shifts: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

During transition periods, volunteers with leadership positions will work on “in-house projects” such as Operation Evergreen, where holiday ornaments are made for troops deployed overseas. Everyone will receive a t-shirt and snacks.

The Chapel, the YMCA, and the Roo Express will provide transportation. Two trolleys have also been made available to the University.

Volunteers will be transported to over forty different sites. Service activities will range from meal packaging at the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank and outdoor projects (landscaping, yard work, clean-up) at the Ohio and Erie Canalway to upkeep projects at the Ronald McDonald House.

However, this is just a small sample of what over 7,000 volunteers have done during the University’s long history of taking part in Make A Difference Day. This marks the 12th year UA will be participating in the biggest CSL service event of the fall semester. Dina Daltorio, graduate assistant for ServeAkron, says that within the past 11 years volunteers have logged about 25,548 hours of service.

This year, many people have already registered to volunteer — including interim President Matthew Wilson and his family.

Other CSL events include a monthly Super Service Saturday and Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week starting on Nov. 13. Find details on these events and more at Also, follow serveAkron on Twitter: @serveAkron.