More than 300 University of Guelph students, staff and faculty will volunteer with almost 30 local service agencies Sept. 13 during the annual Project Serve day.

Begun in 1997, the event introduces students to community involvement and volunteerism.

Students working in teams of five to 40 will contribute more than 1,000 volunteer hours during the event. This year, participating organizations include the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, eMerge Guelph, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, Guelph Food Bank and the Village of Riverside Glen. Teams will be led by senior students, faculty or staff members.

“Project Serve Guelph is built on the principle of reciprocity with community partners,” said Galen Fick, Project Serve organizer and coordinator of local engagement in U of G Student Life.

“Students learn about local involvement opportunities and are encouraged to continue to engage in the community in the years to come. At the same time, local organizations receive genuine assistance and the opportunity to connect with the campus community and recruit potential volunteers.”

Through a volunteer program called Right Foot Forward, Off-Campus Living (OCL) in Student Life will distribute 700 resource bags to student households. Kathryn Hofer, OCL manager, said the bags will contain tenant handbooks, garbage bags, waste system information, athletic schedules and wellness information.

“We work with volunteers and staff to welcome students into off-campus neighbourhoods and share information about life in Guelph,” said Hofer.

“Volunteers visit students to deliver resource bags and answer questions about the city. They also connect with residents who have questions about living in a community with students.”

Interested residents may email or call 519-824-4120 Ext. 56276.

Student registration begins at the University Centre at 11 a.m.

Project Serve was named Program of the Year by the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services in 2001.

For a complete list of participating organizations and for more information, visit the Project Serve website.