UA students and staff honored for ‘Making a Difference’


These 2013 Make a Difference Day volunteers helped expand a community garden.

The national spotlight was on The University of Akron this weekend as one of the Make a Difference Day Award recipients featured in USA Weekend Magazine, which appears in Sunday newspapers across the country, including the Akron Beacon Journal.

UA is the only college among several organizations and individuals being honored for the community service projects organized for Make A Difference Day — America’s largest day of volunteering. The annual event is held the last Saturday in October and is sponsored by USA Weekend, Points of Light and Newman’s Own.

In UA’s nine years of participation, more than 5,800 students and staff have dedicated more than 21,400 hours of service to Summit County, says Alison Doehring. The alumna, who coordinates UA’s Make A Difference Day as well as other service opportunities as assistant director of student life, never missed volunteering each October during her undergrad years.

Lifelong lessons in day of service

“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,” adds Doehring. “By exposing UA volunteers to the variety of needs within our community, 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.

On Thursday, April 10, the University will be one of 10 national honorees to receive $10,000 from the Newman’s Own Foundation at the Make A Difference Day Awards Luncheon in Washington, D.C. This gift will be donated in UA’s name to the United Way of Summit County’s 2013 Annual Campaign. 

On hand to accept the award will be Anne Bruno, executive director of the Student Union, and Thad Doyle, senior associate director of student life.

You can read about UA and the other honorees online at USA Weekend Magazine, and at winners. To learn more about UA’s efforts, visit its Make a Difference Day page.

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