Ceylon Mitchell, 301-852-3042
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Over 700 volunteers participated in 11 community service projects across Greater College Park during the University of Maryland’s Sixth Annual Good Neighbor Day on April 1st. The event, which doubled its number of volunteers from last year, is a day of service learning that brings together the greater College Park community to beautify shared spaces, educate and engage in sustainable practices, and take pride in the city.
Good Neighbor Day is a partnership between the University of Maryland, the City of College Park, and The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. The event began in 2011 with 50 volunteers and one service project, and has grown steadily ever since. To view photos from this year’s Good Neighbor Day, click here. For a video recap, click here.
“The University of Maryland became the nation’s first Do Good campus last fall, and since then, we’ve seen a major influx in the number of students, faculty, staff, and alumni who are eager to work together to positively impact the community,” said Gloria Aparicio Blackwell, director of the university's Office of Community Engagement. “I’m so thrilled that we saw such a spike in volunteer participation at Good Neighbor Day and that the message to ‘do good’ is resonating with our community.”
This year’s service projects focused on environmental efforts and social impact in support of a “healthy community.” Service projects included litter clean-ups in waterways that affect the Anacostia Watershed, native flower and tree plantings, invasive plant removal, the College Park Parkrun 5k, landscaping work at Cherokee Lane Elementary School, as well as many others. A youth bicycle safety demonstration and a community expo were also organized, as well as food and clothing drives to benefit the College Park Community Food Bank and GreenDrop.
"The best thing about Good Neighbor Day is the camaraderie between students and the community,” said UMPD Chief David Mitchell. “We have a saying: 'You only get out of a community, what you put in.' And this is an investment. Once again this year we've done an amazing job with the City of College Park."
"Throughout the day, I was impressed and pleased to see so many smiling faces working together to benefit the community where we live, work, and play,” said Carlo Colella, vice president of the university’s Division of Administration & Finance.
In total, over 2,000 trees, shrubs, and flowers were planted, nearly 100 bags of debris were collected, about 1,500 square feet of weeds were pulled, a pollinator garden was created, and Terps Against Hunger, a student-led group from UMD, packaged 22,000 meals for individuals and families in need. The event collected 3,500+ pounds of food for the College Park Community Food Bank and diverted 93 percent of its waste from the landfill by providing monitored recycling and composting waste stations at the College Park Community Center.
“Good Neighbor Day is an important event,” said Mayor Patrick Wojahn. “Every year we top the previous year and the event keeps growing. It really brings everyone from the community together—the university, long-term residents, faculty, local agencies— in order to make a positive impact on the community and the neighborhoods. It’s something we can be proud of.”