Earth-Friendly Connections: Macon a Difference Day (VIDEO)

May 03, 2017


Student carrying branchesRandolph-Macon College's 12th annual Macon a Difference Day (MaDD) took place April 29, 2017. This R-MC tradition, which celebrates Earth Day, began in 2006. The campus-wide community-service initiative brought together the college's clubs, organizations and academic and administrative departments to clean up and beautify the R-MC and Ashland communities. Students, staff and faculty volunteered their time and energy and at the same time made connections with the Ashland community.

Projects and Activities
Volunteers could choose from numerous community-service projects, including: cleaning up Mechumps Creek; planting and weeding at R-MC's Brian Wesley Moores Native Plant Garden; sprucing up the college's International House Garden; planting flowers at the Ashland Coffee and Tea Adopt-a-Spot; and welcoming and registering visitors at the Patrick Henry YMCA Healthy Kids Day.

Building Bridges, Giving Back
Hunter Goff '18 was one of many students who helped widen a bridge near Mechumps Creek that serves as a walking path for Ashland residents. Goff, a political science major and history minor, was an enthusiastic participant in R-MC's annual earth-centric event.

"I'm really excited to give back to the Town of Ashland," he says. "They've done so much for Randolph-Macon College."

Yadel Tekle '17 is an accounting and economics major who helped landscape the International House garden. Tekle, who serves as resident assistant at the International House, says volunteering is a "great way to give back …it's a community-building experience."

Biology Professor Nicholas Ruppel and Religious Studies Professor Timothy Brown worked alongside members of Kappa Sigma fraternity, weeding and cutting plant beds at the Brian Wesley Moores Native Plant Garden. Tristan Ramsey '19, a Kappa Sigma brother and biology, political science and religious studies major, says, "My favorite part of Macon a Difference Day is coming together with friends and giving back to the community. It's a great opportunity that we have here at Randolph-Macon."

Brown says, "Our objective is to show people how beautiful and vigorous native trees, shrubs, and perennials can be, even as they benefit our local ecology. Without the annual help of students on MaDD, we would have a difficult time maintaining the garden."

Global Youth Service Day
"We loved collaborating with the Hanover County Department of Community Resources on their annual Global Youth Service Day for the sixth consecutive year," says Jayme Watkins, assistant director of student life at R-MC who also oversees the Students Engaged in Responsible Volunteer Experiences (SERVE) program and student organizations, and advises the Service Fellows, Interfraternity Council, and College Panhellenic Council.

Celebrated in over 100 countries, Global Youth Service Day is an annual worldwide event that mobilizes millions of young people to improve their communities through service and service-learning.

The Randolph-Macon community prides itself in helping and partnering with others, including the Ashland-Hanover community.

"I am especially grateful to the MaDD Steering Committee: Chaplain Kendra Grimes, Hanover Youth Specialist David Duck, Laurie Preston (head of reference in the McGraw-Page Library), Mayumi Nakamura (assistant director of international education), and Religious Studies Professor Timothy Brown," says Watkins. "Their hard work in helping organize MaDD meant that participants had a fun, productive day."

Tree Planting
In the spirit of town-campus collaboration, one of the yearly features of Macon a Difference Day is a tree planting. This year, R-MC President Robert R. Lindgren, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Grant Azdell, representatives from the Town of Ashland, and R-MC students and staff, shovels in hand, planted a tree on Arbor Day (April 28) in front of Blackwell Auditorium, R-MC Center for the Performing Arts. Garet Prior, the senior planner for the Town of Ashland, was at the planting and gave a proclamation naming Ashland a Tree City for the 26th year.

Giving Back
In 2015-16, R-MC students collectively amassed more than 27,400 volunteer hours and donated $49,898.00 to various causes. Students in Fraternity and Sorority Life contributed more than 13,600 hours of collective service to the community and donated $1738.00 to various organizations and philanthropies.

In addition, $21,000 was raised and donated to the American Cancer Society from the annual Relay for Life. Over 300 students participated R-MC's second Big Event, a day of service to give thanks to the Ashland community. The Students Engaged in Responsible Volunteer Experiences (SERVE) program, in the Office of Student Life, is an integral part of Randolph-Macon College.