MerServe’s annual Be a Good Neighbear service event will be held on Sept. 25 this year, returning to its preexisting format after being held over the course of two weekends in the 2020-2021 academic year. The event, which will offer over 20 volunteer sites, will require masks and social distancing for participating students.
“It’s always nice to be able to partner with these people because they are making such a difference in our community,” said MerServe's Director of Operations Allie Whitehead. “I think as Mercer students, it’s easy to forget that Macon is our community as well, so working with these partners is a great way to be involved in our community.”
Be a Good Neighbear is the university’s largest service event of the year, normally having around 300 students volunteer at sites in the local Macon community. According to Whitehead and the coordinator of the event, Lily Dwyer, this year will be the biggest Be a Good Neighbear ever, with up to 400 different volunteer spots available.
There are sites to match any student’s interest, including animal care, building or house work, environmental clean-ups and more. Students who prefer to remain on campus are also able to volunteer by working with one of the community partners on Cruz Plaza to prepare meals.
MerServe is still communicating with their community partners to confirm sites and to make sure that the community partners’ needs will be met by student volunteers. The sites are constantly changing, but students can see a list of confirmed sites on BearPulse.
Last year, Be a Good Neighbear was split over the course of two weekends to limit the number of students volunteering at one time. This year, the event is taking place on one Saturday, but MerServe will be requiring masks for all attendees at all of their events and sites regardless of vaccination status.
Both Dwyer and Whitehead said they believe the event will continue to grow. After the end of Be a Good Neighbear, Dwyer said that they reach out to their community partners for feedback about the event and that it’s almost always positive.
“I think what’s really special is that Mercer creates this bridge of relationships between the student body and the community partners in Macon,” Dwyer said.
MerServe is currently looking for site leaders for Be a Good Neighbear. The application for site leaders is available on their Instagram and in Bear Blurbs.
Be a Good Neighbear will take place on Sept. 25 throughout the day. Volunteers will begin meeting on Cruz Plaza and checking in for sites at 7 a.m. After volunteering at their respective sites, all volunteers will return to Cruz Plaza where they’ll be giving out free t-shirts to volunteers. Interested students can sign up on BearPulse.