Day of Service encourages local volunteering

While getting straight A’s and internships can feel like the end goal in college, the ideal experience is much more than that. Volunteering and community involvement are not only great work experiences, but also important to a wholesome college experience. Students are reminded of this important notion through Geneseo’s annual Day of Service event. Alpha Phi Omega works closely with a variety of campus organizations to sponsor this event, held this year on Sunday March 29. “The main idea of it was to stress the importance of service in our community not just on campus, but off campus too,” APO treasurer and co-chair of Day of Service sophomore Gina Suriano said.

Attended by over 250 students, the event held 20 service projects around campus and in Livingston County. Students were able to choose their projects instead of being assigned, meaning various group sizes attended each event. While they were held in different locations, Suriano and co-chair junior Amanda Armbruster both emphasized that they wanted the volunteer efforts to benefit local people.

Despite poverty feeling like a faraway issue at college, it affects many people in Livingston County. Day of Service provided assistance through a variety of venues, including the local Goodwill, National Warplane Museum, Temple Hill Cemetery and a March of Dimes that raised over $100 in spare change. On campus, people made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Open Door Mission, which provides food and shelter to the homeless. Other charities APO worked with include Golisano Children’s Hospital, Chances & Changes and Global Food Pantry.

This was done not only with intentions to help those in need but also as bonding with the surrounding community. “I think it’s important to give to the community and the county and really connect the school to the town and area,” Armbruster said.

Not only did its participation double since last year, but Day of Service is going through a variety of changes this year. Now in its fourth year, the event was originally called The APO Day of Service, which confused potential participants and prevented nonaffiliated people from signing up.

“We wanted to make it more inclusive,” Armbruster explained. “It always was, but wasn’t perceived as such.”

The event was truly collaborative, working with groups such as Hippies for Hope, Red Cross Club, Colleges Against Cancer, Geneseo Pride Alliance and Inter Varsity Council as well as Greek organizations including Alpha Chi Rho, Kappa Sigma and Alpha Sigma Tau. Furthermore, seven chapters of APO from other campuses attended the event as volunteers.

“That was really nice because it was the most people from other chapters we have ever had,” Armbruster said.

“It was great to bring people together and make them aware of all the help that’s needed, not just here but in general,” Suriano added.

In the future, Armbruster and Suriano––who are co-chairing the event again next year––expressed their optimistic hopes to incorporate more members of the Geneseo community who are not affiliated with the college and to continue to increase attendance.

“Just as a campus, everyone is so willing to participate in things and do service,” Armbruster said. “That really says something about our community.”