Make A Difference Month 2020

October 2020

Make a Difference Day logo

About Make a Difference Month

Make a Difference Day is a national day of service. GVSU's Community Service Learning Center is proud to have recognized this day of service for over 15 years!

We are thrilled to offer Make a Difference Month to our Grand Valley community. With our changing world around us, our definition of service is also changing. We believe there are always ways to give back to your community while adhering to guidelines set forth by local/state governments. With that being said, we want to give our students as many resources as possible to expand their definition of service. We hope that with a variety of service options, our community will be able to make a difference in new and creative ways. Helping to get your friends registered to vote, organizing a neighborhood clean up, or helping to tutor kids are all ways that you can engage with your community while keeping you and everyone around you safe. Below you will find several different ways that you can get involved both in our GVSU community and beyond,  as well as educational resources that will help you critically think about your interactions in these spaces. 

We Want to See How Lakers Make A Difference!

During the month of October we want to see how our Grand Valley community makes a difference. Tag us on Instagram @gv_cslc and use the hashtag #GVSUMakesADifference so we can share how Lakers make a difference in their community!

Virtual Service Opportunities

These opportunities will require a computer or phone to complete, but can be done from anywhere!

Local Opportunities:

Become a mentor:

Host a couch party and get your friends registered to vote!

Additional places to find virtual service opportunities:

Remote Service Opportunities

Remote opportunities will require some materials but can be done by yourself or in a group while practicing social distancing!

In Person Volunteer Opportunities

All in-person service should be done while adhering to CDC and local/state guidelines.

Check out these different places for in-person service opportunities!

Outdoor opportunities:

Places to find in-person service opportunities:

Drop-In Service Opportunities

We will be hosting drop-in service locations around campus! 

  • October 9th from 12:15pm-3pm at CDC Plaza
    • Decorating Kid's Food Basket Bag
  • October 16th from 12-3 at the Holton-Hooker Tent
  • October 23rd from 12-3 at the Holton-Hooker Tent
  • October 30th from 12-3 at the Clock Tower

Community Engagement Resources

We ask that you please read over the resources below before you participate in any type of service for Make a Difference Month

Community Engagement Resources

Partnerships in the community need to be mutually beneficial!  You will benefit from your community engagement experience, but it is vital that the community partner is also TRULY benefiting.  Follow the tips below as your work through the various stages of setting up, and engaging within, a partnership.

  1. Find a Partner
    • Research partnership options to ensure your interests and their mission are in line
    • Contact the community partner with plenty of advance notice (and remember, it's OK if they say they don't have any opportunities available right now)
    • Set (and maintain) a professional tone through your communication
  2. Before the Activity
    • Schedule a face-to-face meeting to review expectations, tour the site, and set learning objectives for your project
    • Regularly communicate updates (group size, confirmation of timing, etc.) with your community partner
  3. During the Activity
    • Check-in with your on-site contact as soon as you arrive
    • Be fully engaged throughout the entire project
    • Continue exhibiting professionalism as your represent GVSU (and yourself/group)
    • Leave a thank you note (if possible)
  4. After the Activity
    • Reflect on the project independently or with your group
    • Send a thank you note (if you weren't able to leave one on-site)
    • Communicate with your community partner for feedback, as well as to determine if you plan to continue the partnership 

Gaining knowledge of yourself, your project, and your issue area before serving will help enrich your experience.  Additionally, reflection is a critical part of any community engagement experience.  The outline below will help you to structure both pre-engagement and reflection questions for you (or your group's) project.  

  1. Pre-Engagement Questions
    • Identity: How do you think socially constructed identity may influence the people, the area, and the culture you experience today?
    • Intention vs. Impact: What is your intended impact on the community?  Is there any potential for harm?
    • Perspective: What are some ways you think your attitudes and beliefs may be different than those of other cultures?  How do you know?  How do you think these differences may impact your engagement experience?
    • Active Citizenship: What do you hope to learn about working across different communities?  Would you consider yourself an active citizen in the community you are engaging with?
  2. Reflection Questions
    • Identity: What differences are you seeing in your beliefs/attitudes/understanding of society and the world?
    • Intention vs. Impact: What was the lasting effect on the community partner?  What were the benefits and hindrances?  Did your experience fulfill its initial intent?
    • Perspective: Looking back, what factors (organizations, culture, prior knowledge, personal background, classes, etc.) influenced how you framed your community engagement experience?
    • Active Citizenship: Has your service reinforced your commitment to public action as a citizen?  How do you define the role of a “citizen” (as opposed to a “consumer” or an “individual”)?  How can you take what you've learned and apply it?

Note: More information on these topics exists within the other sections of this "Educational Resources" page.

The structures of power and privilege in society can impact the way in which you interact with the community.  Take some time to review the article and videos below to understand how any privileges you hold might come into play during community engagement.

10 Counterproductive Behaviors of Well-Intentioned People

Whitesplaining

ACLU - Privilege in Under 3 Minutes