Despite rain, hail and frigid temperatures, nearly 150 students and volunteers joined OnSite Volunteer Services in observing the 11th annual Make A Difference Day Saturday.
An independent, student-run, not-for-profit organization, OSVS works to pair groups and individuals in Tompkins County with agencies in need of volunteerism.
Organizing several outreach projects and an open house, OSVS used National Make A Difference Day — sponsored by USA Today and the Points of Light Foundation — to help raise awareness about their own organization and to foster interest in community service.
“At OnSite, our goal is to emphasize that we’re interested in celebrating Make A Difference Day because we believe that the mission of the day promotes our mission throughout the year: to promote service and build the community,” said Vanessa Ulmer ’02, director of community outreach for OSVS.
This year, several Cornell organizations volunteered with OSVS, including Alpha Phi Omega, Circle K, Cornell Tradition, Golden Key Honor Society, the Learning Web, Pi Beta Phi and Phi Kappa Tau.
OSVS coordinated service projects at Ithaca-area agencies and facilities such as Lakeside Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Finger Lakes Land Trust and the Family Reading Partnership’s Kids Book Fest, among others. At the Finger Lakes Land Trust, students cleaned a site that had been previously used as a landfill.
In addition to its single day projects, OSVS continued three weekends of service to the Ink Print Making Center, “a haven for print makers,” according to Craig Mains, a member of the artistic cooperative.
On Saturday, students helped by plastering walls and painting in preparation for the move to the new office.
OSVS annually assists about 50 agencies. The organization works throughout the year to select projects that demonstrate diversity in a variety of outreach opportunities.
Wenni Lee ’05, a member of Alpha Phi Omega, considers OSVS to be “one stop shopping” for volunteer opportunities.
In addition to supplying the workers, OSVS also provides a wide range of tools for use in repairs, construction and landscape. To ensure safety and efficiency, every on-site activity also has a project manager who oversees the job and delegates authority.
Archived article by Laura Rowntree