Oregon State’s Yearly Service Event Goes Digital


Zoe Sandvigen

Every year OSU hosts a Day of Service event usually held at different service sites worldwide. This year, since we are still in quarantine, the OSU Alumni Association has recreated this event to fit our new social distancing lives. From May 1 through the 16 is the official service campaign where OSUAA encourages all members of Beaver Nation to volunteer their time to improve their community while following safeguard protocol. 

Being a part of the campaign can be as easy as sending greeting cards to the elderly, picking up litter around your neighborhood or sending supportive messages to fellow students and OSU community members. 

The annual event started back in 2009 bringing together 300 to 500 on average. Since this year’s event is extended to a two-week period, there are hopes to attract even more participants. John Valva, OSUAA Executive Director and Vice President of Alumni Engagement, said that there are already over 100 pledges made from people around the world, and thousands of engagements via social media.

“Oregon Staters give back every day – sometimes in highly noticeable ways that model service for others, and often in localized ways that only those around us understand,” Valva said. “This little campaign is our way to celebrate the impact of such service and thank our friends who raise the spirits of their community.”

Valva said the OSUAA is primarily recruiting through social media by showing examples of services being done around the world. Valva himself has personally pledged to reach out to one isolated person a day as well as donating to OSU’s emergency student fund. 

Though you can create your own service contribution, the alumni association’s webpage shared some examples here. Now a virtual event, most have gone from working in large groups on projects around the community to small but significant acts of kindness. 

“Now we are doing a lot of the same things, but a more local and personal level,” Valva said. “Delivering groceries to loved ones who are quarantined or immunocompromised, drawing pictures and encouraging words in chalk on our sidewalks, painting rocks for others to find and brighten their day…”

Everyone has the chance to make a difference during this time, Valva believes. By taking this event and putting into an online platform it opens up the possibilities to anyone to participate over the next two weeks. 

Kelly Hower ’04, an OSUAA board member and OSU alumna, has been partaking in service acts around the Corvallis community with the help of her family. Hower’s husband Jason ’06, also an OSU alum, and herself have been donating blood and delivering groceries to friends and family in need. Hower and her family are very involved in trying to make a difference during this time. 

“I think getting awareness out there on any social media platform about what people are currently doing to help their community will empower others to get out and do the same,” Hower said. “Focusing on having people share what they are doing no matter how big or how small could help with feeling connected to others.”

Hower believes this usual one-day event has transcended into a months-long effort by alumni all over the world. In seeing how hard times are for a lot of people, individuals like Hower are going above and beyond to help out in any way she can.

“This virus has affected everyone in some aspect of their lives, whether its peoples health, job, connection to family and friends, it has not discriminated or focused on a certain population or area of the world,” Hower said. “I have been blown away by OSU alumni helping support local businesses, donating time to making needed masks, as well as financially supporting programs on campus.”

Visit OSUAA’s Facebook page to check out some of the stories of fellow Beaver community members in how they’re choosing the help out. 


Photos courtesy of the OSU Alumni Association 


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