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Campus & Community

Labors for Our Neighbors

UMD, City Volunteers Tackle 40 Service Projects on Good Neighbor Day

By Antonya da Silva

volunteers plant flowers at Hollywood Elementary

Student volunteers from College Park Scholars’ Public Leadership program pitched in Saturday along with Facilities Management to plant flowers to brighten up the entrance to Hollywood Elementary School. It was just one of 40 resident-identified service projects along with community workshops and donations drives that made up Good Neighbor Day, overseen by UMD’s Office of Community Engagement.

Photos by John T. Consoli

More than 800 volunteers picked up, packed up and fully stepped up to complete a record-high 40 service projects on Saturday’s 11th annual Good Neighbor Day.

Throughout College Park and surrounding neighborhoods, Terps, local high school students and residents cleaned litter, pulled weeds, spread mulch, planted pollinator gardens and installed bee hotels for the day of service organized by the University of Maryland, the city of College Park and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

Volunteers packed 15,000 meals, transcribed archival documents, assembled emergency preparedness kits, and assisted veterans and local seniors. At The Hotel at the University of Maryland, residents, teachers and students discussed mental health and public health.

From Oct. 18 to Nov. 12, volunteers ran numerous donation drives, gathering children's books for local tiny libraries and baby items for local families. Together, the community raised over $12,000 and collected 3,000 pounds of nonperishable items for local food banks.

“College Park really came together as a community, connected with one another, and enhanced the lives of our neighbors,” says Gloria Aparicio Blackwell, founding director of UMD’s Office of Community Engagement. “Good Neighbor Day’s success takes a village. We want to sincerely thank our community volunteers, partners, planning committee, sponsors and collaborators for being good neighbors today and every day.”

Read on to see what Terps and local residents accomplished together.

packing meals with Terps Against Hunger

Volunteers with the student group Terps Against Hunger gathered at the College Park Ikea to assemble ingredients for healthy meals for local families, with about 15,000 meals packed in total.

4 people trim brush along Paint Branch Trail

Local residents and running enthusiasts (from left) Ellen Oberholtzer, Lisa Wilson and Joan Oberholtzer joined with College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn to trim brush and remove invasive plants like porcelain berry along Paint Branch Trail.

three people plant a tiny tree

College Park Scholars students (from left) Bo Cheung ‘26 and Josh Wright ‘26 work with Rachel Hillman ‘24, a Terrapin Trail Club officer, to get a sapling off to a healthy start as part of a tree-planting project at Lake Artemesia.

three women look at 3d printed virus models at a table

Volunteers prepare to share 3D-printed models of HIV, flu and polio viruses in an educational display at The Hotel at the University of Maryland. From left: Ashley Peery, volunteer coordinator for the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History; Katie Little, lead community engagement coordinator with the UMD Office of Community Engagement, and Tatiana Sandoval ’19, community schools coordinator for High Point High School.

three people walk away from camera on trail near Lake Artemesia

Three of more than 800 volunteers on Saturday head back from Lake Artemesia at the end of another productive Good Neighbor Day: geology doctoral student Karla Núñez, computer science sophomore Paola Hernandez Aguirre and biological sciences doctoral student Yanelyn Perez—all members of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science.

Schools & Departments:

Office of Community Engagement

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