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The Blue & Gray Press | July 18, 2019

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Like a good neighbor, UMW is there

BY JULIA DAVIS goodneighbor1
The National Weather Service called for a 100 percent chance of rain on Saturday, March 29, but that did not stop University of Mary Washington students from spending their afternoon outdoors. More than 200 students volunteered their afternoon in the Fredericksburg area as a part of UMW’s second annual Good Neighbor Day.
The event, hosted by UMW Student Government Association (SGA), gave students an opportunity to give back to the Fredericksburg community through yard work, landscaping and trash clean up. Student volunteers represented numerous UMW clubs, sports teams and organizations.
“It’s good to take a couple hours out of your weekend to give back to your community,” said Nicole Scotti, a sophomore international affairs major and member of Alpha Mu Sigma who volunteered with a group of 40 others.
Good Neighbor Day began at 12:30 in the afternoon, with registration and sign-in at the Underground. Cedric Rucker, associate vice president and dean of student life, kicked off the event with a short speech expressing his support and gratitude for UMW’s students.
“I want to make sure the folks in Fredericksburg know that we are Mary Washington and we care about Fredericksburg,” said Rucker to cheers and applause from volunteers.
Armed with raincoats, work gloves and water bottles, students split into ten teams to tackle different projects in surrounding neighborhoods and trails.
“It’s raining and not the greatest day out, but students still came out to help on a Saturday morning,” said Radwan Jarrar, director of community outreach for SGA. Jarrar planned the event and cited the student dedication to help their community as the reason for such a large number of volunteers.
The heavy rainfall continued throughout the day, soaking volunteers but not hampering progress.
“We had a really fantastic turn out,” said Matt McAloon, a junior English major and future Inter Club Association (ICA) president.
McAloon lead a team of ten in landscaping at a Sunken Road residence.
“I thought the rain would alter turnout,” said McAloon, as he spread mulch across the front garden. “But it looks like the rain didn’t impede much.”
According to SGA President Stephanie Preston, Good Neighbor Day had a 78 percent turnout rate. Weather conditions slightly altered volunteer counts, with 301 students registered online as of the morning of March 29th, but only 237 students participating.
“I am so proud of all of our students who came out to help UMW and the Fredericksburg community on such a rainy day,” said Preston. “We had less than ideal circumstances for the day, but students still came out ready and willing to help out, and that speaks volumes about the student body.”
Last year’s Good Neighbor Day brought out more than 200 student volunteers, totaling more than 1,000 community service hours.