two female students volunteering by carrying boxes of food at the food bank
U of G volunteers lend a hand as part of Project Serve. (University of Guelph)

Hundreds of U of G volunteers will head into the Guelph community Sept. 15 to volunteer with local organizations as part of the University’s annual Project Serve day.

From planting seedlings at Green Legacy Tree Nursery to lending a hand at the Guelph Humane Society to cleaning up trails and parks, nearly 400 U of G students, faculty and staff will roll up their sleeves to put the University’s “improve life” theme into practice.

“It’s a chance for students to break out of the campus bubble,” says Galen Fick, local engagement coordinator of Student Experience. “There’s always an air of celebration, heading out into the community in teams with your Project Serve T-shirt; it’s great to feel like you’re a part of something.” Many students who participate in Project Serve have gone on to volunteer in the community.

Project Serve Day is built on the principle of reciprocity with community partners. 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.

This event embodies the University’s spirit of cultivating long-standing, enriching relationships with community agencies and not-for-profit organizations in Guelph. Project Serve Day is supported by funding from the United Way of Guelph Wellington Dufferin.

Marking its 21st year of community service, Project Serve has seen more than 6,000 students devote 18,000 hours of volunteering in Guelph-Wellington County. Local agencies and organizations benefit by receiving genuine assistance and the chance to both connect with the campus community and recruit new volunteers.

Students can gain leadership experience by signing up to be a team leader for Project Serve.

Local groups with a volunteer opportunity for U of G students can sign up to be a community host agency.

“It’s a simple concept that makes a big impact for what gets done in the community,” says Fick.

For more information on Project Serve, including a list of community placement opportunities, visit GryphLife. Volunteer registration closes at midnight Sept. 12.

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