Tuesday, April 18, 2017

More than 700 Maryland volunteers serve their community on Good Neighbor Day

  • Landscape project cleans up Cherokee Lane Elementary School: Community members save the city $30,000 worth of labor and materials.
  • Flower plantings re-establish the habitat of Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly: University of Maryland students beautify campus with 1000+ plants.
  • Student organization provides meals for D.C. charities: Terps Against Hunger volunteers pack more than 22,000 meals.

Good Neighbor Day Volunteers, 2017
UMD Community Learning Garden
The University of Maryland’s Sixth Annual Good Neighbor Day service event in College Park, MD saw record-breaking attendance on Saturday, April 1. More than 700 volunteers joined together on 11 projects that ranged from meal packaging to environmental protection.  The event brings together city residents and university members to beautify shared spaces, educate and engage in sustainable practices, and take pride in their community. With enhanced digital media and word of mouth, the 2017 volunteer total well surpassed last year's turnout of fewer than 400 participants.

    Campus, Community, Camaraderie

    Good Neighbor Day is a partnership between the University of Maryland, the City of College Park, and The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. The event began in 2011 with 50 volunteers and one service project and has grown steadily ever since. The day of service provides opportunities for community partnerships, long-term environmental impact, and grassroots examples of mobilizing neighborhoods through servant leadership. In addition to hundreds of volunteers, Good Neighbor Day participants included numerous business sponsors in the local community who helped make this year’s event a success.

    "The University of Maryland became the nation’s first Do Good campus last fall, and since then, we’ve seen a major influx in the number of students, faculty, staff, and alumni who are eager to work together to positively impact the community,” said Gloria Aparicio Blackwell, director of the university's Office of Community Engagement. “I’m so thrilled that we saw such a spike in volunteer participation at Good Neighbor Day and that the message to ‘do good’ is resonating with our community."

    This year’s service projects focused on environmental efforts and social impact in support of a “healthy community.” Service projects included litter clean-ups in waterways that affect the Anacostia Watershed, native flower and tree plantings, invasive plant removal, the College Park Parkrun 5k, landscaping work at Cherokee Lane Elementary School, as well as many others. A youth bicycle safety demonstration and a community expo were also organized, as well as food and clothing drives to benefit the College Park Community Food Bank and GreenDrop.

    Social Change
    • 2,000+ trees, shrubs, and flowers were planted
    • 100 bags of debris were collected
    • 1,500 square feet of weeds were pulled
    • 22,000 meals were packed for individuals and families in need
    • 3,500+ pounds of food were collected for the College Park Community Food Bank
    • 93% percent of waste diverted from the landfill
    "Good Neighbor Day is an important event,” said Mayor Patrick Wojahn. “Every year we top the previous year and the event keeps growing. It really brings everyone from the community together—the university, long-term residents, faculty, local agencies— in order to make a positive impact on the community and the neighborhoods. It’s something we can be proud of."

    Learn more about Good Neighbor Day here.