Day set aside to foster community
Setting aside a few minutes to deliver canned goods to a local food shelter or to entertain a group of senior citizens can make a real difference in the lives of those involved.
For the second year, the Office of Student Activities will sponsor Make A Difference Day events on campus and throughout the surrounding community on Saturday, Oct. 28. Make A Difference Day is a national day of helping, which was created 16 years ago by USA Weekend Magazine.
This year’s Make A Difference Day is not just for students. Faculty and staff members are encouraged to participate, as well.
The kickoff takes place on Friday, Oct. 27, with a baby shower-themed party where donations can be made to the Ulster County Pregnancy Support Center.
“Make A Difference Day provides faculty and staff with a unique opportunity outside of a classroom or office to interact with students and community members, while promoting volunteerism and active citizenship,” said Suzanne O’Driscoll, director of student activities and union services.
O’Driscoll said there will be about 20 off-campus organizations hosting members of the campus community this year. Project sites include: the Village of New Paltz; Mohonk Preserve; St. John Bosco Home; Campus Clean-up Project; Culinarians Home; Family of New Paltz; Ulster County Pregnancy Support Center; and the New Paltz Youth Program.
Linda Eaton, dean of students, said people who are already involved in some kind of community service and want to participate that day, even if it is off campus, can have that work count toward the college’s total participation. Faculty and staff members are encouraged to take part in any way they can and to invite their families.
“Whether you devote five minutes or five hours, you are making a difference in someone’s life,” said Beth King, internship and service learning coordinator in the Career Resource Center, who coordinated participation at a pumpkin festival and science conference during last year’s Make A Difference Day.
King said faculty and staff participation encourages student volunteerism.
“We stress the importance of community service, but what really hits home is when the students see us alongside them doing good deeds,” King said. “Celebrating a national program like this is an excellent way for students, faculty and staff to unite for a common cause.”
Jim Tinger, youth director for the Town of New Paltz, said the college is an essential part of the programs at the New Paltz Youth Program Center. Last year, students like Lorraine Vultaggio ’09 (Secondary Education, Mathematics) helped organize a haunted house at the center.
“It is always nice for students to see us away from the office and realize we are just people,” said King.
“We want the entire New Paltz community to embrace this project,” said Eaton.
Those who would like to participate can register via the Student Activities Web site (www.newpaltz.edu/sub) or by calling Student Activities at x3025.
September 11, 2006
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