USC Volunteer Center to host Friends and Neighbors Day this weekend

This Saturday, Oct. 25, the USC Volunteer Center will host this month’s Friends and Neighbors Day event. This is the second event of the semester.

Students who have not already signed up for Friends and Neighbors Day but want to participate can register on the day of the event. Volunteers can start arriving at the Joint Educational Project house on 34th Street at 8 a.m., where breakfast will be served. Registration and check-in ends at 9 a.m., when volunteers will be dismissed to go to their volunteer sites. Transportation to the sites will be provided.

The October Friends and Neighbors Day has nine different sites for volunteers to choose from, including dog walking, park beautification and serving food to the homeless on Skid Row. Volunteers are able to select which project they want to do. Projects will end between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m.

Trang Bi, a senior studying human biology and psychology, works through the USC Volunteer Center to coordinate Friends and Neighbors Day. According to Bi, many of Friends and Neighbors Day volunteers are returning.

“During the summer, we go to the student expo at freshmen orientations,” she said. “And then a lot of the students that we do get for Friends and Neighbors Day are the freshmen that did the first event during Welcome Week and then continue to do it.”

Organizations on campus can also sign up to volunteer as a group, with all of the members working on the same project.

“A lot of the service [organizations] like to volunteer with us — like APO [Alpha Phi Omega], Helenes, TSS [Trojan Scholar Society],” Bi said.

Andrea Hae-Yien Spoto, a sophomore majoring in global health, is the Friends and Neighbors Day chair and a member of the USC Helenes.

This Saturday, [the Helenes] will be participating in an urban beautification project with the Blazer Youth Services Community Club,” she said. “I believe this will involve either planting greenery, repainting buildings or installing new street furniture.”

Spoto is looking forward to interacting with the local community.

“I think this project will be a really enjoyable, fulfilling way to connect SC students with the surrounding L.A. community.” Spoto said. “I’m really excited to see what kind of difference we can make in a couple hours and to get to know the Blazer Youth Services Community Club at a deeper level. Hopefully, we can use [Friends and Neighbors Day] as an opportunity to do more service projects with them in the future.”

The next Friends and Neighbors Day event will be on Nov. 8. Volunteers will have the option of continuing the same project that they do for the October event, or they can choose a new project.

“With [Friends and Neighbors Day] you can just take one Saturday out of every month to volunteer. You don’t even have to commit to a certain project. You can do dog walking every month, or you can dog walk this month and garden next month. It gives you a great variety of things to do,” Bi said.