Students make a difference

Shelby Mileham, a junior psychology and health studies major, rebuilds a fence Saturday while winterizing the community garden behind the Charleston VFW. Winterizing involves pulling weeds and putting down tarp and mulch, Mileham said. (Kimberly Foster | The Daily Eastern News)

By Kathryn Richter/Staff Reporter

Eastern hosted the student-run “Make a Difference Day,” across Charleston and surrounding areas to promote community service on Saturday.

Eastern sponsored four different projects, two of them on campus and two in the surrounding area. The projects included a police department appreciation carwash, a community garden makeover, a city of Kansas park party and Casey Elementary School aid project.

Serena Loranca, a senior environmental biology major, helped to winterize the local community garden and was a volunteer organizer.

Loranca was said she was passionate about the project because it promotes green living and a sense of community.

“I think today is important because we need to make connections with the community and we can do that by giving back to one another,” Loranca said.

Loranca had previously helped establish the community garden over the summer. She said she enjoys spending time there.

Brittney Edwards, a freshman graphic design major, came out to the community garden to volunteer with friends.

“It’s a fun experience for me,” Edwards said. “It’s something I don’t normally do.”

Edwards came to the community garden with Lupa Ostiguin, a freshman pre-nursing major.

“We live in the city so we don’t normally do stuff like this,” Ostiguin said.

Samantha Cornwell, a junior English and history major, was also at the community garden.

Cornwell’s main duties of the day involved turning over the garden so it would be ready for planting in the spring and painting the pavilion.

“We’re out here showing the community that we don’t just go to school and party, we’re here to help,” Cornwall said. “It’s part of our community as well.”

In Kansas, volunteers from Eastern spent the day playing games with children and running booths at a local park opening.

Kristina Graves, a sophomore secondary education major, said that volunteering with the children at the park helped reaffirm her decision to become a teacher.

“I just like volunteering and I love kids,” Graves said.

Megan Rose, a freshman middle school education major, said she felt that by volunteering, it would reflect well upon Eastern, but that is not the only reason she wanted to volunteer.

“I just wanted to something other than sit in a dorm,” Rose said.

Rachel Fisher, the director of student community service, said she felt the day was a success.

“It really was a day that made a difference in our community,” Fisher said.

She said she felt the reason “Make a Difference Day” was so successful was due to the highly enthusiastic volunteers and the great locations and weather.

“It just shows the growing dedication of EIU students to the community around them,” Fisher said.

Kathryn Richter can be reached at 581-7942 or


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