California State University, Northridge students and volunteers covered the Northridge community with shovels, trash bags and brooms in hand for the second annual Matador Day of Service on Sept. 10.
The event, which was designed to clean up campus and the neighboring Northridge community, was a huge success and much bigger than in 2015, said co-event organizer Don Larson.
“Last year was primarily for freshman students, but this year everyone could join in,” Larson said. “This year we had about 400 people who registered for this event. Last year we were mainly on Reseda [Boulevard] and Nordhoff [Street], but this year we spread out from Yolanda [Avenue], to White Oak [Avenue], to Lassen [Street] and all the way to Parthenia [Street].”
Events like Matador Day of Service, according to Larson, help build community and allow students to connect to their street.
Participants were divided into 35 groups. Most spread out into the community, but others stayed on campus to pick up trash and help CSUN’s Institute for Sustainability pick oranges at the Orange Grove, which were donated to local food pantries and those in need.
“As a resident here, I wanted to come out and help make my hometown cleaner,” said CSUN sophomore David Mendoza. “It’s important for me to contribute to the community and promote sustainability.”
Students gathered at Bayramian Lawn at 8 a.m. for free breakfast and to meet their groups. The volunteers spent the rest of the morning doing beautification projects such as street sweeping, litter pick up and weed removal. After their projects, students returned for free lunch, games and a chance to win prizes.
For senior Edwin O’Campo, the opportunity to give back to the community was very rewarding.
“I’ve been at CSUN for four years now, so I feel it’s my duty to take care of this campus and the neighbors around it,” O’Campo said. “It is really inspiring seeing a bunch of like-minded people who feel the same way and want to make a difference in the community.”
University officials partnered with Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander, Northridge Sparkle, the three Northridge neighborhood councils and the Northridge Chamber of Commerce to organize the day of service.
For more information on other volunteering opportunities in the future, visit the Matador Involvement Center website.