Local Student United Way selected for their work organizing Northwood University’s Go MAD Day.

Northwood University’s Student United Way has been chosen as the winner for United Way Worldwide’s Event of the Year in its Community Champions awards competition for their work with Go MAD Day, adding worldwide recognition to their impressive collection of awards this year. Northwood’s Student United Way was chosen from a field of 65 Student United Way organizations and will be featured in an upcoming Workplace by Facebook LIVE chat to share their work with their counterparts around the world.

On Go MAD Day, which stands for “Go Make A Difference” day, Northwood University partners with United Way of Midland County to engage as many students, staff and faculty as possible to volunteer in a single day to benefit dozens of community organizations. The Go MAD theme was inspired by the late Northwood University football coach Pat Riepma, who was known for saying “Go MAD—Go Make A Difference.” In 2017, 796 students, faculty, staff and community members were involved, providing more than 2,100 hours of service. As a result, Northwood University was awarded the 2018 NCAA Division II Award of Excellence.

Student United Way collaborated with United Way of Midland County’s Campus Volunteer Manager, Northwood University’s Dean of Students, local nonprofits and nonprofit volunteer coordinators to lay the groundwork for a successful Go MAD Day. Overall, 35 nonprofits throughout Midland County were impacted.

“I feel very honored that United Way Worldwide is recognizing our group for the effort and dedication we put into Go MAD Day,” stated Nathan Johnson, President of Northwood University’s Student United Way. “Through the support and commitment to volunteerism of Northwood University students, staff and faculty, we are able to effectively serve our community.”

Not only did the Student United Way engage the Northwood University population, they brought in high school students from the Midland County Youth Leadership program. The high school students volunteered and created 171 “blessing bags” with the 706 personal care items that were collected/donated the week prior to the event by Midland High School and Dow High School.

“These students work tirelessly to ensure that they are able to serve their community. As the advisor to Student United Way, I see the endless hours dedicated to ensure the event is a success for agencies, volunteers, and community members from start to finish. They are in year-round communication with their campus peers and nonprofit directors to see that they are able to make the greatest impact and make a difference to the people around them,” shared Emily Korn, UWMC Volunteer Engagement Specialist, Northwood University Campus Volunteer Manager and Student United Way advisor.

To help honor Coach Riepma on Go MAD Day, the Northwood University Athletic Department also got involved. In total, 347 athletes from every athletic team on campus participated in unique projects that included reading to 150 elementary school students, moving 6,000 pounds of rocks for the Longview Early Childhood Center and writing mentorship letters to athletes in Special Olympics.

“Without the assistance and collaboration with the United Way of Midland County, we would not have been able to connect our campus to the community and nonprofits that we serve on Go MAD Day,” added Johnson.

While working with the organizations to develop projects, the Student United Way offered “Rake a Difference”. Rake a Difference is an opportunity for students to travel to clients homes who may not have the means to rake it themselves. Northwood volunteers raked 42 yards in Midland on Go MAD Day.

Keith A. Pretty, Northwood University President and CEO said, “Here at Northwood, our students learn success is measured not only by how much you accomplish, but by what you give back. I am proud to be a member of this Northwood family, now recognized globally for giving back and being good stewards of our community. Congratulations, Northwood University Student United Way!”