California State University, Northridge students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members worked together to beautify the campus and surrounding neighborhoods during the fourth annual Matadors Day of Service on Sept. 8.
This year, more than 500 Matadors and volunteers — up about 200 people from 2017 — packaged food for the CSUN Food Pantry, swept the streets, picked up trash and planted fruits and vegetables in the campus gardens early Saturday morning. The event was a combined effort between CSUN’s Unified We Serve, the Northridge Beautification Foundation and the Northridge City Council, and was sponsored by SoCalGas.
“One of the major differences this year is that we have alumni participating,” said Maria Elizondo, CSUN coordinator for Volunteer and Community Involvement.
“Also, a lot of the students who came out were first-time students,” Elizondo said. “At a university that’s almost 40,000 strong, sometimes you can get lost. One idea behind Matadors Day of Service is that new students come and create connections with the students who are already engaged on campus.”
State Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) also came out to support the event. He praised the volunteers for turning out to serve their local community.
“It’s unbelievable. There’s 500 people here at 8 o’clock in the morning,” Hertzberg said. “It’s not just kids from the campus. It’s community people, neighborhood council people and alumni. CSUN’s an important place in the San Fernando Valley.”
CSUN senior Veronica Torres said she volunteered because she wanted to make a difference on campus.
“I wanted to be more involved on the campus — it’s my first time [at the Day of Service],” Torres said. ”It’s a good way to meet people. [I’ve been] talking to people I’ve never met before.”
David Meza, public affairs manager for SoCalGas, explained why the company supports the annual Day of Service — including sending a dozen employees to volunteer side-by-side with students and alumni.
“We not only work here [in the Valley], but we also live here, so for us community work is really important,” Meza said.