Students volunteer in Day of Service to give back to Geneseo community

Alpha Phi Omega hosted Geneseo’s fifth annual Day of Service on Sunday April 3. Geneseo students, students from various other universities and community members gathered together to work on various service projects throughout the day.

President Denise Battles gave a keynote speech to all of the participants before the Day of Service began. In her speech, Battles emphasized the positive impact community service continues to have.

“We all owe a great deal of debt to the caring, motivated individuals who chose to give back and make a difference in the lives of others,” she said. “And that’s really what you’re doing here today—making a good and lasting difference on the campus and in our local communities.”

Battles commended the amount of volunteer service that APO does for the community, citing the organization’s 8,800 hours in total service last year that amounted to a monetary value of $203,000.

Co-Chair of Day of Service Committee senior Amanda Armbruster said that 150 individuals participated in this year’s Day of Service. Organizations such as APO, Golden Key, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, American Red Cross Club, Geneseo Pride Alliance, Sigma Delta Tau, Dumbledore’s Army and Hippies for Hope hosted projects in Bailey Hall or in the MacVittie College Union. Participants could also go off campus to Temple Hill Cemetery to help clean the area.

According to senior Gina Suriano—who also served as Co-Chair of the Day of Service Committee—students from other colleges such as the Rochester Institute of Technology and SUNY Fredonia attended this year’s event. She added that she hopes that participation will continue to grow, with hopes that more organizations and individuals from all over will attend next year.

R.I.T. junior Brian Coren worked with Pride to design anti-bullying posters, which will be given to local schools. The posters included facts about bullying, consequences of bullying and methods to advocate for someone experiencing bullying. Coren noted that believes the project will raise awareness of bullying.

“I think it will encourage people to rally behind the common problem,” he said. “So, you’ll have more encouragement for people to stand up for each other; to stand by each other.”

The American Red Cross Club’s event had participants create care packages, which will be donated to Chances & Changes, an organization for people who have been affected by domestic violence. Junior Cailin Sofko said she hopes that the project will educate individuals on the organization’s important cause.

“Before we had done this last year, I didn’t even know about Chances & Changes, so I’m hoping it will make people know that they’re there and so if people are interested in that kind of thing—and I know we have a lot of women’s studies minors and stuff like that—then maybe they’d be interested in volunteering there,” she said.

APO hosted multiple service projects throughout the day, including “A Healthy Kitty is a Happy Kitty,” which had participants make toys and blankets for sheltered cats. Project coordinator senior Stephanie Newman explained that these toys will help improve the health of the cats by fostering social interaction and play that can also improve their physical health.

Students from SUNY Brockport also came to Geneseo’s Day of Service. Brockport junior Alex Williams helped with APO’s PB&J sandwich drive and noted that he loved the variety of service projects this day provided.

“I came here last year for this and fell in love because it was just so much service all at once and I got to meet a lot of cool people, including other brothers in my APO chapter,” he said.

Additionally, APO hosted “Cranes for a Cure,” which had students make paper cranes that will be donated to Cranes for a Cure and cancer patients. Project coordinator junior Amber Ho expressed hopes that APO’s Day of Service could continue to improve by attracting outside organizations and individuals.

“We struggled getting more people other than in our organization to participate. So, we definitely have been trying to reach out to other Greek organizations or even just clubs on campus, whether it’s to have them come in and do projects like this or actually run their own project,” she said. “We’ve just been trying to get more involvement, pretty much, and that’s always been the hardest part every year from what I’ve seen.”