Community Service Made a Difference

A piece on UH Hilo’s celebration of Make A Difference Day and what community service does for a campus full of students.

Staff Writer Holly S. Trowbridge
Photo Courtesy of Kevianna Adams

Student volunteers triumphantly pose with gathered trash

Have you seen the newly-red tables in Campus Center Plaza, or have you noticed the gardens have been weeded? Those were painted and weeded by some of the university’s very own students, faculty, and community members!

Every year on the fourth Saturday of October, Make a Difference Day is celebrated worldwide. UH Hilo kicked the day off with a bang, inviting students to help with community services around the campus.

“Everybody can make a difference, each person. It doesn’t have to be a huge project, maybe itjust makes a difference for one person, but it still makes a difference, and it kind of just builds on that. If each person made a difference for one person, they’d make a difference for a whole lot of people,” Ellen Kusano, director of Campus Center and Student Activities stated.

The celebration is about attempting to make a difference in the world, whether that be simply picking up rubbish on the road or joining in on an all-day community service project. UH Hilo’s event went on from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with students showing up to help make the campus a better place for everyone.

“There are four groups that are active today, Kipuka, Campus Community Services, and altogether, about 78 people showed up,” stated Maile Boggeln, Campus and Community Service Coordinator. The event was put together by Boggeln and the Campus Community Services. Throughout the day, sweat was visibly dripping from the foreheads of the workers signifying a good day’s work.

Some of the volunteers explained a little bit about why they gave up their Saturday to make the world a better place. “I enjoy community service. I did a lot of it when I was in school myself, so I’m here. I really like giving back and I’ve had a pretty fortunate life. I really enjoy opportunities to engage in the Hilo community or at least the Hilo campus community. I am also hoping to break into higher education as a career path, so programming community engagement and community involvement is similar to this,” clarified community member, Carley Kaleikaumaka Arraujo.

Although there are some larger movements going on nationally, “The way that we celebrate it is by making it an opportunity for our students to make a difference, here at home on our campus, because it really impacts you to walk past something you accomplished. It was started by Campus and Community Services, and they are the ones who are running it today,” Boggeln reported.

“What we know about community service and engagement is that the relationship part of it, the mutual give and take between the entity and the community that fosters the relationship that is not only transactional but long lasting is the important piece of what community engagement should be about. It’s hard to get people to understand that message, which is what today is for,” said Kaleikaumaka Arraujo.

There is no place like home, meaning UH Hilo’s very own campus when it comes to making change. “UH Hilo students are awesomely dedicated. I’d like to thank all the students who came out, auxiliary services, and Campus Community Services for putting this on,” said Kusano.

Altogether, the event was a success with proud work completed and a difference made. “I’m thankful for any help that we get and I think it’s really great that we have more than 50 students who are willing to give up their Saturday and come to do these projects. Anytime we can get more people involved is always good,” Boggeln expressed. Remember, Campus Community Services puts on various community service-based events throughout the year.