Macon a Difference Day is an annual campus-wide initiative.
On April 22, 2012, Randolph-Macon College celebrated
Macon a Difference Day.
Macon a Difference Day is an annual campus-wide initiative that brings together
the college’s clubs, organizations and academic and administrative departments.
Students, staff and faculty volunteer their time and energy and at the same time
make connections with the Ashland community by working toward a common goal.
Now in its seventh year, Macon a Difference Day has evolved into an Earth Day community-service
celebration, and this year more than 200 R-MC students worked alongside staff, faculty
and citizens. In all, 293 volunteers planted trees, flowers and shrubs, cleaned
up local parks, and picked up trash along Mechumps Creek. Members of R-MC’s chapter
of Habitat for Humanity put their hammers and saws to good use as they helped with
the construction of a house in Ashland. Volunteers collectively gave 900 hours of
their time to Macon a Difference Day.
The first Macon a Difference day was small, according to
Sociology Professor Reber Dunkel, who serves as coordinator of the Students
Engaged in Responsible Volunteer Experiences (SERVE)
“Our modest agenda was heralded by the following invitation: ‘Come and be a part
of a campus-wide initiative to get R-MC students involved with our community,’”
says Dunkel. “Cost-wise, we managed to break even, but we considered the first Macon
a Difference Day a success and decided to do a repeat. Since those fledgling days
we have continued to encourage students to volunteer for projects that not only
promote stewardship of our planet but support community organizations and the Town
Beginning in 2009, a student has served as the Macon a Difference Day executive
director. Elanya Chin ’13, a philosophy
and international studies major,
has for the past two years served in that capacity.
“As a freshman, I signed up as a volunteer to do park clean-ups for Macon a Difference
Day,” recalls Chin. “The experience was challenging and meaningful. After cleaning
up four parks, we were exhausted but in good spirits. Seeing the camaraderie between
students, staff, faculty and members of the Ashland community left a lasting impression
Spanish Professor Kimberly Borchard has for
the past three years worked as a Macon a Difference Day volunteer.
“I invited my students along and they learned a bit of gardening and farming vocabulary—such
as poner mantillo, or mulch, and azada, or hoe—while doing community
service and celebrating Earth Day,” says Borchard.
One of the yearly features of Macon a Difference Day is tree-planting, with President
Robert R. Lindgren and Mayor Faye Prichard, shovels in hand, digging alongside students,
staff and faculty.
“Not only does this symbolically unite the Town and the college, it assures that
we continue our ‘greening’ efforts to make our community a healthier place to live,”
says Dunkel. This year, a Cherokee Princess dogwood was planted near the corner
of Caroline Street.
Student organizations were well-represented at this year’s Macon a Difference Day:
Greek Life, Alpha Phi Omega, Brothers 4 Change, Habitat for Humanity, Randolph Artists
and Writers, Students for Environmental Action, and residential units helped make
the day a success.
“I was very pleased to see the number of volunteers who came out this year,” says
Christina Cozart, associate director of residence
life and housing. “We owe our students, faculty and staff a huge debt of
gratitude for seeing the value in service and stepping up to help our community.”