USD students ‘make a difference’

USD students 'make a difference' University of South Dakota students worked in several capacities to support National Make A Difference Day on Oct. 25.

The Student Action Office, which coordinates service learning efforts on campus, organized several activities through which students supported local and national nonprofit organizations.

During the week preceding Make A Difference Day, the Student Action Office provided students brochures with ideas about how to "make a difference every day." Throughout the week students in the Coyote Student Center painted almost 100 toys in support of Happy Factory, a nonprofit organization that strives to provide every child with a toy. Students also penned holiday cards which will be sent to armed service members through Friends of Our Troops, Military Mail and donations for the Vermillion Food Pantry were collected.

Thursday afternoon, student musicians provided music to support Make A Difference Day efforts in the Coyote Student Center, and a representative from Sharing the Dream sold items to support the fair trade cooperative.

On Saturday, the official National Make A Difference Day, six university students from the IdEA Program worked with community members in Vermillion Beautiful, and at the Senior Citizens Center. Students worked on Main and Cherry streets preparing community flower beds for the winter, removing litter, planting a tree and raking leaves.

Students also participated in a Bowl-A-Thon, sponsored by the campus service organization, SERVE, to raise money for the Vermillion United Way.

Kate Talley, the Americorps*VISTA member who organized the event, said, "We were pleased with the support University students provided and the chance to work outside the University. Our goal was to support nonprofit organizations and raise awareness of national days of service on a campus that already has a strong history of service."

Make A Difference Day, an annual event every fourth Sunday in October, is the most wide-ranging national day of community service and is sponsored by USA Weekend, a Gannett publication, and the Points of Light Foundation. Millions of people have participated since its inception in 1990.

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