WMU News

Spring volunteer effort to send 1,500 students into the streets

March 31, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- About 1,500 Western Michigan University students will spend Saturday, April 4, volunteering to do spring cleanup and other work in local neighborhoods and at 50 public agencies in Allegan, Kalamazoo and Calhoun counties.

The fourth annual Spring Into the Streets effort will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students, community volunteers and agency staff members are invited to a reflection ceremony at WMU's Oakland Gym immediately following the volunteer activities.

"Try It for a Day, You May Love It for a Lifetime" is the theme of Spring Into the Streets, which is designed to encourage active volunteer work among college students.

The students will participate in activities such as answering phones at an Allegan pet shelter and doing cleanup and service work at locations ranging from the yards of local senior citizens to the grounds of the Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek.

One project, "Get Rid of Graffiti," will see 50 WMU students join forces with 50 younger students from the area to sandblast offending graffiti from neighborhood walls and streets. This project and others during the day will specifically target Kalamazoo's Vine, Eastside, Northside, West Main Hill and Knollwood neighborhoods.

"The nice thing about this annual effort is that student involvement has increased right along with agency requests for help," says Terri Benton-Ollie, coordinator of WMU's Student Volunteer Services in the Lee Honors College. "Students will serve rain or shine."

Benton-Ollie is coordinating the event along with Stevan J. Veldkamp, WMU assistant director of student life.

A large contingent of student volunteers will come from WMU's Greek organizations, which will participate as part of their annual Greek Week celebration. Spring Into the Streets was timed to coincide with Greek Organization Love Day, the Greek Week day devoted to community service efforts. Members of Greek organizations also are helping to plan and organize activities.

For more information about the event, persons may contact Benton-Ollie at (616) 387-3230 or Veldkamp at (616) 387-2115.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron; jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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