Macon a Difference Day pays homage to Earth Day.
Randolph-Macon College helped make the Earth a happier, healthier place on April
The college celebrated the eighth-annual Macon a Difference Day (MaDD), a campus-wide
initiative that brings together the Ashland and R-MC communities in an Earth Day
Volunteers planted flowers and shrubs, spruced 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
Macon a Difference Day was created in 2006 and each year, participation has increased.
This year, more than 300 volunteers helped with projects such as Healthy Kids Day,
Help the Hungry, the Ashland Library Book Sale, and Mechumps Creek Clean-up. Jayme
Watkins, coordinator of R-MC’s co-curricular programs, is thrilled that Macon a
Difference Day was so successful.
“This kind of community connection is what Randolph-Macon does best,” says Watkins,
who also oversees the SERVE
program and student organizations, advises
the Service Fellows
and the National Pan-Hellenic Council, and co-advises the College Panhellenic Council.
“R-MC is dedicated to helping others, and to partnering with others, including the
Ashland-Hanover community. Together, we paid homage to Earth Day in the best way
possible. I am especially grateful to the MaDD Steering Committee—Chaplain Darrell
Headrick, Laurie Preston (library), Laura
Robertson ’04 (Department of Community Resources, Hanover County), Mayumi Nakamura
(office of international education) and
Sociology Professor Reber Dunkel—whose hard
work in helping organize and carry out this effort was key to its success.”
R-MC Spanish Professor Kimberly Borchard has
volunteered at MaDD since 2009.
“The event gives me the opportunity both to connect with students on a more informal
level, and to give back to the Ashland and Hanover communities,” says Borchard.
“We live and work in a unique and beautiful part of the country, and it feels good
to know that we can join together not only to keep this area beautiful, but to improve
local parks, public spaces, and ecosystems.”
A Green Tradition
One of the yearly features of Macon a Difference Day is a tree-planting, with R-MC
President Robert R. Lindgren and Ashland Mayor Faye Prichard, shovels in hand, digging
alongside students, staff and faculty. This year, joined by Alan Rashkind ’69, chairman
of the R-MC Board of Trustees, they planted a Sango Kaku Japanese maple in front
of Blackwell Auditorium, R-MC’s Center for the Performing Arts.
At R-MC’s International
House, students assembled a cedar raised bed, mixed soil components and
planted vegetable and herb gardens representing the International House residents’
home countries. In addition, the native-plant “green lot” was weeded and mulched.
Pattie Bland, Hanover County Master Gardener Coordinator, says, “The raised bed
vegetable garden at the International House will demonstrate how fresh food can
literally be a few steps out one’s door. Access to locally sourced edibles can be
a reality for folks with a just a little time and effort.”
This year, volunteers joined forces for the first time with Hanover County Parks
& Recreation by planting dogwood trees and butterfly bushes at Courthouse Park
and elaeagnus bushes at Courthouse and Taylor Parks to enhance the landscape buffer
at both sites. Greg Sager, the director of Hanover County Parks & Recreation,
was on hand to explain the ecological importance of creating additional vegetative
areas in these parks. Sager also pitched in, digging and planting alongside the
“On behalf of the County, we are truly grateful for the time and energy these volunteers
put in to help make the community a better place,” says Sager. “They should be commended
for their efforts and their investment in our park system. We look forward to continuing
the great partnership the County has with Randolph-Macon College.”