The Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism and Education (COVE) held an Afternoon of Service on September 15 to commemorate the victims of 9/11. Student volunteers gathered outside Donovan’s Pub and separated into groups that drove to one of the following community organizations: Common Thread Farm, Southern Madison Heritage Trust, Friends of Roger Environmental Center, Community Bikes, Heritage Farm and the Chenango Canal.
According to one of the event’s organizers, Associate Director of the COVE Meghan Niedt, the Afternoon of Service acts as a stepping stone for students to get involved in the COVE’s extensive network of community partners in the Hamilton area.
“We want to give students the opportunity to learn more about the community, and support the community that supports them,” Niedt said.
At Common Thread, student volunteers spent the day harvesting squash and pumpkins to sell to members of the farm share, local businesses and the Hamilton farmers market. In about three hours, eight students harvested hundreds of vegetables as they completed a task that would have taken the farmers an entire day. For frequent COVE volunteer and senior Colgate student Stephen Paolini, the afternoon on the farm provided a much-needed break from the daily grind.
“It’s a bit of a release from being a student. [When you’re harvesting vegetables], you keep going and going, and all of a sudden you’re at the end of the row. There’s something nice about picking squash and not worrying about your philosophy paper,” Paolini said.
While students harvested vegetables at Common Thread, volunteers at Friends of Roger cleaned a trout pond, volunteers at Southern Madison Heritage Trust cleared and widened trails and others cleaned and repaired bicycles at Community Bikes.
The Afternoon of Service was performed in conjunction with a national network of volunteer events created to commemorate the victims and heroes that either died or were affected by 9/11. One of Niedt’s main goals was to have the student volunteers complete their tasks with the same sense of purpose and spirit that followed when communities came together after the 9/11 tragedy.
“9/11 reminds us of how blessed we are, and sometimes we take the things in our life for granted,” trip leader and Colgate senior Liz Arenare said. “The Afternoon of Service is the time to remove yourself from the ‘Colgate Bubble,’ and interact with the community in a way you might not normally.”
In addition to providing a space to commemorate the tragic events of 9/11, the Afternoon of Service also gives students the means to become further involved with the areas surrounding Colgate.
“You have to take the initiative and want to step out in the Hamilton community,” Paolini said. “And once you do take that step, you realize that you’ve already been a part of it. When you [think about it], there’s a lot of Colgate in Hamilton and a lot of Hamilton in Colgate, and the Afternoon of Service makes you aware of that.”
The COVE’s next Afternoon of Service will take place on January 26 to commemorate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
Contact Michael Rasmussin at [email protected]