The Colleges’ service initiative continued this past weekend with the second Day of Service of the semester. For the past 15 years, HWS community members have put all other obligations on hold to serve their community in the annual Day of Service. This year, the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL) has stepped up its efforts, inviting the campus to get involved in several Days of Service, each with its own focus.
Saturday’s focus was community well-being. Students, faculty, staff and other community members worked at Yates Cultural and Recreational Resources, Inc. (a fitness and wellness center); Trinity Church; the Community Lunch Program; SAFE of Finger Lakes (rape and abuse crisis service); St. Peter’s Church; St. Francis Church; Sons of Italy; the Shelter of Hope Humane Society, Clifton Springs Nursing Home, and more.
From cleaning windows and pews to grooming dogs and cats, and cooking and freezing fresh produce to sorting books, the volunteers of this past day of service found the dusting and scrubbing rewarding and worthwhile.
Latiqua Washington ’09, a Sankofa member who volunteered at the Community Lunch Program, says, “This is an opportunity for bonding and interacting, doing something with other students. We also get to figure out how service is connected with our future goals.” A part of Sankofa’s theme for the year, she explains is “unity,” and community well-being fits in with that. “It’s inspiring.”
Lee Bondor of Geneva, a parishioner at Trinity Church, worked alongside students raking and trimming trees surrounding the church grounds. “We truly appreciate all the good work of so many students. Many hands do make light work.” Chopping trees and branches with him was alum Nicole Henderson ’08 who traveled from North Tonawanda, N.Y. to volunteer for the day. “I just couldn’t imagine a fall without a Day of Service,” she said.
When asked why it is important for HWS students to serve, Trinity Church Rector and former Hobart Dean Clarence Butler said, “You get a biased opinion when you’ve worked at HWS for 29 years, but service is important for a number of reasons. It helps students; it helps put a face to community. We live in a total world. Service instills in students a sense to give back to surroundings. No one of us got to where we are without the aid of someone else.”
A contingent of students from Hillel traveled to the Humane Society in Penn Yan and bathed, fed and played with the cats and dogs. Warming up a dog who was shaking with cold, Amanda Townsend ’09 said “It’s a great way to give back and get to know people in the community. It is also a good way to get the Hillel group together.”
Sponsored by the President’s Office, Student Affairs, the William Smith Dean’s Office, Hobart Student Government, and William Smith Congress and advised by Associate Director of the CCESL Katie Flowers, the Days of Service program is an important step to further connect people to community service opportunities, the main goal of CCESL’s COMPASS strategy.
The next Day of Service will take place on Sunday, Nov. 2 and will focus on area children.