Rake-a-Difference leaves neighbors smiling

October 17, 2017 / By: Bethany Claussen '17
Raking Story_2016

Every fall, St. Thomas students take to the neighborhood armed with rakes, gloves and smiles. “Rake-a-Difference," sponsored by Neighborhood Relations and Campus Life, is a community clean-up event held during fall semester.

This year’s event — to be held Sunday, Nov. 12, from noon to 4:30 p.m. — will bring together dozens of undergraduate students who will clean up leaves at about 25 homes. The opportunity for students to assist elderly and disabled neighbors with seasonal yardwork is a way to strengthen St. Thomas’ bond with the neighborhood community, participants say.

The method is simple, and the yield is tremendous. Small groups of students are paired with the addresses of neighbors who have requested help with yard work. The students set out to their destinations (which must be walkable from campus) and work together to clean up the community one yard at a time.

Project organizers are committed to composting the leaves at the Ramsey County Yard Waste site in the Midway neighborhood. This year, as he did in 2016, Undergraduate Student Government neighborhood senator Josh Kerner '18 will undertake the composting of some 400 bags of leaves.

Who can participate?

Any house or duplex -- other than a student rental -- within one mile of the St. Paul campus is eligible for Rake-a-Difference. Apartment buildings and businesses are not eligible.

The clean-up event benefits both students and neighbors:

  • St. Thomas student clubs require every member to complete 2 hours of community service each semester.
  • Students make a positive impact in the neighborhood, helping neighbors who otherwise couldn’t prepare their yards for winter.

“This is All for the Common Good brought to life,” says Amy Gage, director of neighborhood relations. “We’re grateful for the tradition that Alumni Relations has established with Rake-a-Difference and delighted to be carrying it on.”

If you or someone you know would like to be part of Rake-a-Difference this year, contact Amy Gage at 651-962-6123.