College of Wooster students raking leaves

College of Wooster students rake the lawn of Rev. Robert Meyer (second from right) during "Rake-A-Difference Day" on Oct. 25. (Photo by Matt Dilyard)


Rake-A-Difference Day Spreads Goodwill Throughout the Community

Volunteer effort enhances town-gown relationship in neighborhoods surrounding campus

05 November, 2014 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio – As autumn leaves fell on the final Saturday of October, a cluster of students from The College of Wooster rose to whisk them away in neighboring yards and walkways that surround the campus. It was part of "Rake-A-Difference Day," an annual affair in which members of Wooster's Volunteer Network go door to door to clear yards buried beneath fallen leaves.

An estimated 50 student volunteers fanned out around campus this year and cleared close to 40 yards during the four-hour project, which ran from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. "Everyone really appreciated the gesture," said senior Hannah Olson, co-president of the Wooster Volunteer Network who brought the idea to the College from her hometown of Stillwater, Minn., three years ago. "Senior citizens and those who are unable to rake the leaves on their own were particularly grateful."

Among those whose yards were cleared was Rev. Robert Meyer, pastor at Wayne Presbyterian Church north of Wooster and a homeowner on College Avenue, just below Pearl Street. "It was wonderful," said Meyer, who is usually on the giving rather than the receiving end of such gestures. "It gave me a chance to meet and mingle with [Wooster] students from New York City, Cincinnati, and Chicago."

It also strengthened college-community relations — an important and intentional byproduct of the endeavor, according to Olson. "Not only was it a great outreach to our neighbors," she said, "but it also gave our students a chance to get out of the 'Wooster Bubble' so they could get to know those who live around us."

For those who missed this year’s event, there’s always next year. For more information, contact the Office of Interfaith Campus Ministries by phone (330-263-2563) or e-mail.