Labor Day is a time for friends to gather together for a good time. On Labor Day in Geneseo, new friends not only came together, but reached out into the community with the third annual 100 Volunteers Program.
A few years ago, Dean of Residence Life Dr. Celia Easton decided that a volunteer program would be an excellent way for new students to meet each other and get involved around campus. The goal was to get 100 incoming freshmen and transfer students to sign up for various volunteer activities that would take place during the Week of Welcome.
The program became an instant hit with 120 students volunteering the first year, 150 the following year and 183 this year. According to Kay Fly, who has been the volunteer coordinator at Geneseo for the past decade and is the coordinator of 100 Volunteers, the best part of the event was the overwhelming number of students who wanted to be a part of it. "Volunteering for Geneseo students has become a way of life," Fly said. "Hopefully we will have over 200 volunteers next year."
The enthusiastic crowd of 183 that gathered in the Union on Monday verified her statement. The volunteers were bussed to various sites in the community, where they spent the morning volunteering, getting to know members of the community and their fellow students. In the past, volunteer activities have included washing fire trucks at the local fire departments, blazing trails at Letchworth State Park, working in retirement and nursery homes, and mucking out stalls at the H.O.R.S.E Rescue site.
Although the event is primarily directed towards freshman and transfer students, there are also many returning students who participated. Junior Mike Bagel, a site leader of 100 Volunteers, has been volunteering in the event for three years, two of which he spent at H.O.R.S.E Rescue. When asked what the best part of the Labor Day event is, Bagel cited the volunteer spirit. According to Bagel, "donating one's time on Labor Day is an excellent way to give back to the community in which we live and attend school." And, like Fly, Bagel believes that the most exciting part of the whole event is how much it has expanded in the few years it has been around.
Although all the activities are great ways to give back, Bagel expressed sincere interest in the volunteering at H.O.R.S.E Rescue. Managed by a small amount of people, H.O.R.S.E. Rescue depends heavily on student volunteers. Bagel emphasized the importance of Friends of Horse Rescue (F.O.H.R.), a campus club which also does volunteer work at the site.
Although the next 100 Volunteers event is still a year away, there are always opportunities to embrace Geneseo's volunteer spirit throughout the year.