New and returning Brock students will come together Saturday to give back to the community they call home throughout the school year.Badgers will head out across Niagara Sept. 8 to show their support for a variety of events and organizations during the 10th annual Brock Cares Day of Service.Students will assist with a Canadian Blood Services drive, collect donations for Project SHARE’s Pack the Purolator event in Niagara Falls, prepare Niagara Catholic’s outdoor education site in Thorold for visiting children, and play games with residents of Linhaven, a long-term care facility in St. Catharines.They will also lend a hand at community events, sort at food banks, freshen up service organization facilities and participate in community clean-ups.“This is a chance for students to not only become acquainted with the community they’re living in, but to also say ‘thank you’ to Niagara residents for welcoming them in,” said Kristen Smith, Brock’s Manager of Community Outreach Programs in Student Life and Community Experience. “We hope connections are formed that result in continued volunteer opportunities throughout the year.”About 300 participants, including some Brock employees, are expected to roll up their sleeves and show Niagara their support through outings in eight Niagara municipalities.“We’re hoping this will be the largest Brock Cares Day of Service yet in honour of the event’s 10th anniversary,” said Community Engagement Co-ordinator Megan Brown. “Giving back is part of the culture here at Brock and people recognize and embrace that.”Many student participants return year after year, eventually taking on leadership roles in the initiative.Brock Cares comes on the final day of the University’s Welcome Week and helps to “set the tone for the rest of the year,” Brown said.The initiative will be followed next week by VolunteerFEST on Thursday, Sept. 13 in Market Hall. More than 30 Niagara organizations will participate in the vendor fair-style event to actively recruit volunteers and raise awareness of their respective missions.“We’ve really been working to create new partnerships and leverage existing connections that already exist within the Brock community,” Brown said, adding she’s hopeful both initiatives will grow in the coming years.There’s still time to sign up to participate in Brock Cares. Volunteers are provided free breakfast and transportation.Brock Cares is run by Student Life and Community Experience in partnership with the Brock University Students’ Union.