More than 70 University of Mary Washington students shared their volunteer spirit with the Fredericksburg area community on Saturday, Sept. 24, for Into the Streets. The autumn tradition is hosted by UMW’s Community Outreach and Resources (COAR), which supports and promotes community engagement, volunteerism and service among students.
“For a few hours on a Saturday, they have a chance to get out of their residence hall room and make a positive difference,” said Center for Community Engagement Director Sarah Dewees. “Into the Streets is a great way for UMW students to volunteer with nonprofit organizations that serve Fredericksburg and learn more about our community.”
Groups big and small set out to do lawn and garden work – planting, weeding, harvesting, mulching, shrub-trimming – for the Fredericksburg Area Museum, St. Mary’s Church, Lafayette Upper Elementary School, Downtown Greens and Tree Fredericksburg. They also cleaned up trash throughout the city and along the Rappahannock River. In total, the project helped 12 organizations and resulted in 216 service hours.
“It’s a great way to get involved with the City of Fredericksburg and give back to the community we call home during the school year,” said Nathan Francis, a junior and COAR staff member who’s majoring in political science and philosophy.
UMW students also dedicated their time Saturday to helping out at the Fredericksburg Food Co-op, the SPCA, the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store and Bookmobile Fredericksburg. On-campus tasks included weeding, trimming and tidying up in the University’s pollinator gardens and the community garden at UMW Apartments.
Sophomore Max Steinbaum said it felt fulfilling to help beautify Market Square behind the Fredericksburg Area Museum, which he has used as a resource for completing class assignments for his major in historic preservation. “It felt amazing to give back and beautify the two-century-old gathering place so more people can enjoy it!”