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Sac State’s Day of Service leads volunteers to work on behalf of local communities

Sac State senior Abdulrahman “Abdul” Alhayek harvests fruit from a tree at a house near Soil Born Farms as part of the University's Day of Service. (Sacramento State/Jessica Bartlett)

Sacramento State enlisted nearly 200 volunteers to work on a variety of community service projects as part of the University’s inaugural Day of Service on Saturday, March 12.

Day of Service is part of the Community Engagement Center’s (CEC)  Volunteer Ambassador and Student Volunteer Leaders program, a one-year commitment that provides students with leadership experience necessary to work with community partners and create volunteer opportunities. 

Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and their family members volunteered for service and beautification projects in local communities and on campus. 

Day of Service tree planting child
Volunteers large and small participated in Sac State's Day of Service, including this child who helped plant a tree on the University campus. (Sacramento State/Rob Neep)

“I am really proud of the Student Volunteer Leaders for putting on such a fantastic event,” said Marisa Warnock, CEC volunteer and program specialist.

“The Sac State community brought such great enthusiasm out to the volunteer activities, and everyone was so excited to be back in person giving back to our communities.” 

Service projects venues were both out- and indoors.

Throughout the Sac State campus, 84 volunteers planted 65 trees, funded by a CalFIRE grant through California Climate Investments, an effort to maintain the University’s vast natural tree canopy.

At Soil Born Farms in Rancho Cordova, Jessica McAllister, a senior majoring in Nutrition and Food, was one of 54 volunteers who harvested and sorted citrus fruit picked from neighborhood trees. The lemons and oranges will be donated to the ASI Food Pantry and local food banks. 

“The impact that Day of Service will have is that it will probably jumpstart doing community service again after the last two years,” McAllister said, referring to interruption of such work by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Soil Born Farms was actually the last volunteer event that was done before the pandemic, so this really is a full-circle moment.” 

Day of Service volunteers
Volunteers who worked at and near Soil Born Farms enjoy each other's company as they take a break from their Day of Service efforts. (Sacramento State/Jessica Bartlett)

At the Boys & Girls Club of America in downtown Sacramento, 38 volunteers cleaned and organized rooms and storage closets, and spruced up the raised garden beds.

To kick off the volunteer effort, students last week created about 150 appreciation cards for doctors and staff at Shriners Hospital for Children, and 21 students participated in an online forum with Shriners physicians, who shared information about career paths that focus on supporting patients and their families.

Warnock said the Day of Service builds upon the work done throughout the year by the Sac State community and further supports the Anchor University initiative, which is meant to connect Sac State to Sacramento and the region in multiple and meaningful ways.

“The ambassadors and volunteer leaders are responsible for planning and executing the Day of Service and the Alternative Spring Break opportunities in March,” Warnock said, adding that the students have been planning these activities since fall 2021.

“I hope Day of Service becomes an annual or even a biannual event,” said Lorena Martinez, a Social Work major and student ambassador. 

“I have big hopes for the Day of Service and know the Community Engagement Center can make it happen,” she said. “Even though I graduate this year and won't be part of the planning process next year, I hope to be able to come back as an alumni volunteer and make it a tradition to help during the Day of Service.”

The next CEC program is the March 21-25 Alternative Spring Break, which allows students to spend their week away from classes working on other community-oriented projects.

The Community Engagement Center is celebrating 25 years of service at Sacramento State, working with local nonprofits, schools, businesses, and government agencies. 

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching honored the University’s contributions and commitment to the Sacramento region with its prestigious 2020 Carnegie Community-Engagement Classification endorsement.


Interested in supporting the Community Engagement Center? See your giving options here.

Day of Service pickup

Mario Lemus and Samuel Nieves shovel mulch at Soil Born Farms in Rancho Cordova. (Sacramento State/Jessica Bartlett)

Service crowd
Volunteers listen to instructions as they prepare to plant trees in the residence hall quad during the March 12 Day of Service. (Sacramento State/Rob Neep)



Day of Service shirt
Sac State's first Day of Service brought together hundreds of volunteers who put their efforts into bettering their community. (Sacramento State/Rob Neep)


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About Anita Fitzhugh

Anita Fitzhugh, at Sac State since 2015, is public information officer and writer. She has more than 20 years of experience as a broadcast journalist/producer and PR consultant. Anita often can be found enjoying the American River Parkway or on a new adventure with her family.

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