For Southern Oregon University students, faculty and community volunteers, Make A Difference Day event is more than a chance to get their hands dirty — it's an opportunity to build community and learn from one another.
More than 60 SOU students and faculty members fanned out across the Rogue Valley Friday afternoon to clear trails, collect food for the needy, work in a community garden, pull pervasive weeds in Lithia Park and help work on a Habitat for Humanity home.
"This is really an opportunity for SOU members to work with the community at large," said Dean of Students Laura O'Bryon while shoveling weeds onto the back of a pickup truck at the ECOS community garden.
In 2008, more than 3 million people participated in Make A Difference Day events across the country.
For Dana Baker, who is majoring in business and marketing, participating in the event was part of a class on connected and community-based learning.
"The purpose here is to give something back to my community," Baker said.