WMU News

Volunteers hitting the streets Saturday

April 3, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Some 800 Western Michigan University students will "Spring Into the Streets" Saturday, April 7, to participate in a wide variety of volunteer projects around Southwest Michigan.

The day's events are slated to kick off at 10 a.m. with a ceremony at WMU's Goldsworth Pond. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., students will be volunteering at more than 25 sites around the area. Activities run the gamut from yard work and painting to reading to children and working with the elderly.

The "Spring Into the Streets" event has taken a new direction this year, according to Kristi Zimmerman-Frost, coordinator of student volunteer services. Rather than having a staff member designate volunteers to a particular site, student leaders chose their own group assignments.

"Student site leaders attended training sessions that oriented them to the social issues facing Kalamazoo, and led them through the process of choosing a social issue to address," Zimmerman-Frost said. "They also learned about orienting their group to the volunteer site, dealing with potential difficulties and facilitating a group reflection after the event.

"This process empowers the students, and allows them to choose a project that is meaningful to them. We hope that many of them will establish long-lasting relationships with the community organizations they'll be serving."

Volunteer sites already identified include the YMCA, American Red Cross, Portage Senior Center, City of Comstock, Edison Neighborhood Association, Oakwood Neighborhood Association, Bethany House and Pretty Lake Vacation Camp.

"Into the Streets" is organized by Student Volunteers Services in WMU's Lee Honors College.

Media advisory - Members of the media who wish to interview or photograph students at their volunteer sites are invited to attend the "Spring Into the Streets" kick-off ceremony from 10 to 10:45 a.m. at WMU's Goldsworth Pond. Information on sites and addresses will be available at that time.

Media contact: Jessica English, 616 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
616 387-8400