Berkeley Project Day volunteer army to hit streets Saturday

With recent campus chatter dominated by talk of mumps vaccinations, this weekend’s Berkeley Project Day offers students the chance to give a shot in the arm to the surrounding community.

More than 2,000 volunteers are expected to fan out to a multitude of project sites across Berkeley and Oakland Saturday as part of a daylong, hands-on community service event, which runs from 8 a.m. to around 4 p.m.

Berkeley Project Day

Volunteers get to work during Berkeley Project Day 2009. (Photo courtesy city of Berkeley)

Whether it’s landscaping, mural painting, making traffic signs, constructing a walking path, planting crops, graffiti removal or general cleanup, participants can get their hands dirty, forget the textbooks for a few hours and give back to the community.

Work sites this year include Aquatic Park, King Middle School’s edible schoolyard, Tilden Park, Ashby BART station, the new La Loma walking path, the Solano Tunnel mural and the Oxford strip.

Alumni and families of Berkeley students, in town this week for Homecoming 2011, are also invited to participate in the annual community-service event, which wraps up on campus with some end-of-day festivities.

Launched in 2006 by the Berkeley Project, a campus student group, the initiative aims to build a legacy of community service and create a strong relationship between campus students and community residents.

The event is co-sponsored by a host of campus and community groups, government agencies and local businesses, including the ASUC, the city of Berkeley, BART and the Willard Neighborhood Association.

In addition to Saturday’s event, organizers run Berkeley Project Month during spring semester, with community-service activities on the three Saturdays before spring break.

The project received support from several campus sources, including the Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund, Studdent Affairs’ Student Opportunity Fund and the International and Area Studies Program.