About 275 students from all class levels met at the Bayramian lawn Saturday morning to donate their time in a campus-wide and neighborhood cleanup, as well as enjoy a free breakfast and lunch as a thank you for their service.
This was a part of the 2nd Annual Matadors Day of Service, hosted by the Matador Involvement Center in coalition with Unified We Serve, the volunteer program at CSUN.
Freshmen Gabriela Flores, marketing major, and Angela Lee, management major, decided to spend their Saturday morning as volunteers in hopes of meeting new people.
“We saw the Unified We Serve booth at Meet The Clubs and decided to come because we are trying to get involved on campus,” Lee said..
Another incentive for Flores to volunteer was knowing CSUN is raising leaders.
“The university is raising selfless leaders, which is important because through that you develop skills that you can take with you to the workplace,” Flores said.
All the volunteers were divided into groups and sent for about an hour, to designated spots in need of upkeep. One group was even shuttled to the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission, where they cleaned up the facilities and took care of children of parents taking a course, according to Francesca Vega, Director of Government and Community Relations at CSUN.
“We are providing exposure for our students to their campus and their neighborhood as we build their Matador pride,” Vega said. “This year, we are pleased with the outcome and we’re glad our outreach started early in order to meet with the leaders in the community and be able to identify which areas were in need,” she said.
Jessica Solorzano, a sophomore sociology major, helped setup the free lunch provided by Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill. She said this was her chance to participate and donate her time, as she didn’t get a chance to attend the event last year.
“It was great that the school also gave back to the students in return,” Solorzano said. “There was free food, CSUN shirts and hats which would have otherwise cost us at least $25 or so if we bought them at the bookstore.”
CSUN president Dianne Harrison also welcomed the student’s and thanked them for their involvement on campus, before they were dispatched to serve.
“This is for you guys,” Harrison said. “Together with our neighbors and our neighborhood councils, we are all dedicated this morning to making this a better place for all of us not only for our campus but for our neighbors,” she said.
Harrison was also presented with a Certificate of Recognition from Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office and the City of Los Angeles for CSUN’s ability to “continue to stand as a strong pillar in our city,” the certificate read.
Marilynn Meyer, CSUN alumni and now board member for the Northridge South Neighborhood Council, attended the event together with other members of the council to setup a booth and inform the students about the council.
“Since CSUN it’s a commuter school, this event and its benefits are multifold. It’s a great forum to get gets students involved in their community and helps CSUN improve its relationship with its neighbors,” Meyer said.
Northridge’s South, West and East Neighborhood Councils supported the event together with other community members such as CREAM, who provided free ice cream sandwiches to the groups.
Solorzano had a great impression of the event, however, she did suggest the coordinators should focus more on cleaning the outside of the school.
“For our campus to look pretty, it should have a great appearance from the outside as well to give a good first impression and create a great atmosphere,” Solorzano said.
Once the groups returned from their assigned tasks, they enjoyed the free food, music and raffled prizes.
“It feels good to walk around a campus that is safe and clean and be an example to others” Mariana Reyes, a junior and committee leader for Unified We Serve said.