Sparky’s Day of Service: Students’ first taste in ASU’s culture of service

September 12, 2019

Sparky’s Day of Service, a series of service events hosted by Changemaker Central the week of Aug. 19, gave first-year students an introduction into ASU’s culture of service. Partnering with nonprofit organizations around the Valley, Changemaker Central provided the perfect connection needed between each college at ASU and a volunteer opportunity. 

Working alongside the residential communities for each college, the Day of Service events were held right inside the common rooms in each of the residence halls on ASU’s four campuses. Holding the event during Welcome Week was the perfect opportunity for first-year students to meet other students and combine it with helping the community. 

“It’s a good way to meet people and is something to do,” said Rosa Aguirre, a first-year sustainability major who attended the School of Sustainability and College of Integrative Sciences and Arts volunteer event. 

With a goal of having students volunteer more than 2 million service hours in the 2019–20 school year, which equals out to each student volunteering 30 hours, Sparky’s Day of Service was a great start for Changemaker to move toward that goal. 

ASU students sort cans at a community service event for Changemaker Central at Arizona State University in Tempe

Barrett, The Honors College, students participate in a 2019 Sparky's Day of Service event in Tempe. Photo by Asa Culver.

For the 2019 event, about 2,500 students volunteered at 20 different sites. Changemaker offered service opportunities through Valley of the Sun United Way, Gathering Humanity, AZ Helping Hands and Amanda Hope Rainbow Angel and more local partners. 

UMOM, a valley nonprofit that helps people experiencing homelessness, was also one of the partner groups. Students decorated and packaged snack bags filled with positive messages and crayons for families moving through the UMOM shelter, producing more than 210 crayon kits, 220 encouragement cards and 60 snack bags. The service of ASU students for UMOM will benefit 288 children. 

“ASU has been a big help in different ways,” said Jasmine Young, the UMOM community coordinator who helped with the event. And Sparky’s Day of Service wasn’t the first time ASU students have worked with UMOM.

Sierra-Nicole Grunwald, a health and life sciences exploratory major, was one of the volunteers at the event. Making a move from Oregon to Arizona to start her first year, volunteering at an event like this not only allowed her to serve the community but brought back a piece of home.

“I was in Girl Scouts for 13 years, and our troup always did work with an organization like UMOM,” said Grunwald. “And even though I was leaving [Oregon], that’s not a reason why I stop serving the community.”

Kendon Jung, the student involvement coordinator for Changemaker Central, explained why Changemaker Central is an important part of the Sun Devil experience. 

“Service is an intrinsic value of what makes ASU, ASU. It’s at our core. We know it’s good to give back.”

Want to get volunteering? The next upcoming day of service is on Sept. 14 and is offered on all campuses. Make sure to register, tie up your boots and get your impact on.