On Saturday Sept. 28, volunteers headed to Kingsmen Park on California Lutheran University’s campus to prepare for a day of service and giving back.
Day of Caring is a county-wide event run by United Way of Ventura County that works to create positive change in the community, according to United Way’s website.
Madeline Liberti, coordinator for community service at Cal Lutheran, said Cal Lutheran has partnered with United Way for several years and are now one of the event sponsors.
“I work alongside [United Way] to help with the planning process and then specifically recruit as many of our students as we can,” Liberti said.
Students signed up online and chose which area they would like to volunteer in ahead of time. Cal Lutheran reserves spots for students in projects they think will be of interest, but anyone can sign up for the event, Liberti said.
As a sponsor, Cal Lutheran also hosted a breakfast for volunteers. The volunteers were provided with water bottles, sunblock and granola bars to take with them to their service site along with Cal Lutheran merchandise. Games and music added to the festive atmosphere in the park.
This was the first year Cal Lutheran opened up the event to alumni, said Julie Herder, who is an alum and part of Alumni Board.
Liberti worked to include alumni by contacting and inviting them to the event.
Susan Lundeen-Smuck, alum and chair of the Board of Regents, heard about the event through Herder.
“We just hope that each year this will grow and we’ll get more alum,” Herder said.
Lundeen-Smuck said she was “super excited” and glad to be back on campus.
Both friends participated in tree planting.
Tree planting was one of the two on-campus volunteer opportunities. The other opportunity was helping at the Sustainable Edible Education Garden.
Sofia Herrera, an intern for the Community Service Center, helped with the tree planting. Herrera said the center worked with Facility Operations & Planning to coordinate it.
One of the groundskeepers, Pedro Sanchez, said they worked with students to not only direct, but to teach the students how to plant the trees. Students also planted shrubs and other plants at Day of Caring, totaling around 70 plants, Sanchez said.
Sanchez said he hopes the event keeps happening in the future, since it helps to take care of the planet and improved the campus’ appearance.
Diana Pacheco, a first-year student and environmental science major, said she came to the event to try to get more involved and to meet new people. As an environmental science major, she said she wanted to “actually get out there and see this stuff.”
At the SEEd Garden, students worked on maintaining the structures in the garden as well as spreading out mulch.
Sophomore Madison Robinson, a worker at the SEEd Garden, volunteered on Saturday.
“I think it’s great that our community can outreach and bring people together in such a positive way,” Robinson said. “It’s just really nice to see people together and helping without a motive other than just to help one another.”
Volunteer opportunities vary depending on what is needed in the community.
“Since I’ve been here, we’ve always had a project with the Simi Valley library. In the past it’s been book washing, this year they’ve asked we help them update and clean their patio,” Liberti said. “It just sort of depends on the yearly needs.”
According to the Cal Lutheran website, there will be more opportunities for volunteering this semester. Students can help University Village residents with their technology questions on Mondays in October from 3 to 4 p.m., and volunteer at the first Annual Civic Engagement Fair Nov. 5, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.