“Rain or shine! said last week’s e-mails and fliers that circled Hobart and William Smith from Brianna Burtman ’08 and Marissa Athas ’09, organizers of the 2007 Day of Service, heralding the arrival of the 15th annual event. When hundreds of students, faculty, staff and Geneva community members gathered on the Quad to kick off Saturday’s events, the sun was shining on one of the most beautiful Days of Service ever.
Participants in the Day of Service on Saturday, Oct. 6, traveled to outposts in and near Geneva, performing valuable volunteer work to better the community. One group raked leaves in Geneva’s Fifth Ward, while another spread wood chips on a playground in Seneca Lake State Park. Other groups picked up trash or painted Head Start room walls and playground fences. The opportunities to help extended over town, far beyond the boundaries of residence halls and classrooms on campus, to the west to Canandaigua where they worked on a Breast Cancer awareness event, and to the east to the Beverly Animal Shelter in Waterloo, where they gave attention to stray cats and walked dogs.
“If you get out and see things, you might want to come back during the rest of the year, said President Mark Gearan, who along with students painted a fence at the ABCD Center in Geneva. The center, which cares for the children of local migrant workers, had a metal fence that was in need of painting.
Students had many reasons for participating in the Day of Service. Many first-year students seized their first opportunity to make an impact on the local community. Some participants were seniors, making the most of their last year on campus.
“It’s my last year here, and I wanted to get involved in helping the community, said Caitlin Caron ’08, of Woburn, Mass., who also spent time at the ABCD fence. She thought that the Agri-Business Child Development Center was a worthy cause. “When you have great people taking care of you early, it totally shapes the rest of your life, she said.
Grenmarie Justiniano, a sophomore from Syracuse, participated in the Day of Service last year. She invited her younger sister Gretchen to volunteer in the 2007 event. After buses shuttled them to their assigned post, the sisters found themselves raking leaves alongside Donald Cass, Geneva’s mayor. Students’ willingness to recruit family and friends for the Day of Service efforts did not go unnoticed.
“I never expected a group this big, Cass said. “It’s great.