UA accepts national award for community service


Alarm clock. Feet on the ground. Quick breakfast. Out the door to campus and onto a shuttle, where you join others ready to do their part to improve neighbors' lives.

Over the last nine years, more than 5,800 UA students have followed this routine on Make a Difference Day in October.

Last week, UA and those 5,800 students were nationally recognized in USA Weekend magazine and at a gala in Washington, D.C. with the anchors from NBC's "Today" show and rocker Jon Bon Jovi.

Accepting the award

Anne Bruno (middle), executive director of the Student Union, and Thad Doyle (far right), senior associate director of student life, accepted on behalf of the University the "Make A Difference Day" Award in Washington, D.C. With them from left is Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and Jenna Bush Hager of NBC's "Today" show.

Anne Bruno, executive director of the Student Union, and Thad Doyle, senior associate director of student life, accepted the award on behalf of the University.

Mutual benefits

“As a one-day program, the goal of Make a Difference Day at the University is to engage students in community service activities and continue to develop partnerships with local nonprofits,” says Alison Doehring, who as assistant director of student life coordinates UA's participation in Make a Difference Day.

Students volunteering on Make a Difference Day

Students expand a community garden during Make a Difference Day in October 2013.

“By exposing UA volunteers to the variety of needs within our community," she adds, "this program also introduces students to many different nonprofit agencies within Summit County and the importance of always being engaged in the community around you — a very important component of Vision 2020.”

This past October, for example, more than 700 students took on 60 community projects – everything from repairing park benches and weatherproofing a home for veterans to enlarging a community garden and doing trail clean up in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The University received $10,000 from the Newman’s Own Foundation at Washington, D.C. event. The gift will be donated in UA’s name to the United Way of Summit County. 

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Media contact: Sarah Cupples, 330-972-7429 or