In accordance with Geneseo’s tradition of placing emphasis on community outreach, students participated in the Knights First Day of Service on Saturday Sept. 7. “This is a day for new students, both freshmen and transfers, to go out into the community of Livingston County and participate in service events,” Director of New Student Programs Kim Harvey said.
According to Harvey, this event was previously known as 100 Volunteers and has occurred annually since 2005.
According to Tom Matthews, associate dean of leadership and service, the name was changed from 100 Volunteers to Knights First Day of Service last year.
“Originally 100 Volunteers was a goal of how many students we wanted to have. But we’ve been having much more than that. This year we had 246 students and 32 leaders do work at 30 sites,” Matthews said. “Before it was unclear if we were focusing on the 100 part or the volunteer part. Knights First Day of Service has a nice ring to it, and it ties in the school mascot. It’s more about connecting students to service opportunities.”
Although it began in 2005, 100 Volunteers was inspired by a prior national event.
“This started after 9/11 because there was a national call for service days,” Matthews said. “The event is always held on the Saturday closest to Sept. 11.”
He said that the service event is always on a Saturday due to the difficulty to find both students who are free to volunteer and businesses that are available to have volunteers come in during the week.
While this opportunity draws many students attention, it is limited to first-year students only.
“The intent of this event is to engage people with the surrounding community when they first arrive to Geneseo,” Matthews said.
Coordinator of Student Volunteers and Service Learning Kay Fly chooses the sites that students visit throughout the event. According to Matthews, Fly also organizes the transportation for the students to the sites, many of which are in neighboring towns within Livingston County.
Some of the sites first-year students volunteered at this year include the Genesee Valley Pony Club, Save the Wall project, Vitale Park at Conesus Lake, Long Point Park on Conesus Lake and numerous fire departments, cemeteries, nursing homes and churches.
According to Matthews, students helped set up for upcoming shows at the Pony Club, assisted fireman in cleaning trucks, painted fences at the parks and set up a family fun day at the church.
Following the completion of the service project, students were invited back to the InterFaith Center for lunch, where they were able to connect with each other and share their experiences.
“I hope the students walked away meeting new people and making a connection with other students and in the community,” Harvey said. I hope they see that service in an important part of the Geneseo community.”υ