The Mutually Beneficial Impacts
By Lauren Vizcarra
Service day at Walla Walla University was a smashing success, according to some. Students from the school went out into the community with the goals of creating connections and impacting lives. But was that goal accomplished?
Service day has always been about helping people—students going out and assisting the community. Several students were surprised that it went both ways. Other students felt that they were not really making a huge difference with their service project but later realized the change was internal.
A total of 612 people dove into service day on a rainy Wednesday. McKenna MacLachlan, sophomore business major, said, “I think it’s a cool event because it connects us to the community, gives us a break from school, and we meet new people—all while helping others!”  She enjoyed working with friends to help out an elderly disabled woman by raking leaves, cleaning out her shed, and prepping it for paint.
Isaac Meythaler, sophomore film and television major, was another story. He was assigned the job of scraping paint off a shed. It was pouring rain and he was miserable. Isaac said that a surprising silver lining in those drenching clouds was that it invoked gratitude in him. You don’t normally spend every day going around in wet clothes for hours. He said it puts things into perspective. 
Playing with puppies doesn’t sound like a service project, but that’s exactly what sophomore nursing major Julieanne Aguilar did. Dog walking, bathing, and kennel cleaning were also part of her duties. Finding out that one of the dogs was adopted after her careful grooming was extremely rewarding, she said. 
Intelligent conversation can be hard to come by these days. Gabran Arruda, junior social work major, was offering it for free. His group went to downtown Walla Walla with signs advertising “free intelligent conversation” to anyone who wanted to strike up a conversation.
This project made Arruda look inwards more than outwards. He asked himself: am I doing all that I can to help other people?  It also made him reevaluate the way he talks to strangers. Arruda’s impact on others can’t be determined, but the project’s impact on him was assured.
Students had different experiences with service day. It speaks volumes, however, that whether they had a good or bad time, felt that they impacted others or themselves, they all plan to return next year. WWU’s annual service day did indeed impact lives.
- Interview with McKenna MacLachlan.
- Interview with Isaac Meythaler.
- Interview with Julieanne Aguilar.
- Interview with Gabran Arruda.