plant in hand

13th Annual Community Service Day Takes Place April 25

The Volunteer and Service-Learning Center is looking for a few good volunteers—400 or more, actually—to participate in Community Service Day on Saturday, April 25. Now in its 13th year, the Buffalo State tradition has expanded its reach to sites all over the city.

Volunteers will work in neighborhoods and parks near Buffalo State as well as many locations on the East Side, such as the Central Terminal, block clubs, community gardens, and churches. Tasks will include planting trees and bulbs, creating new garden beds, picking up trash, organizing a food pantry, and painting the interior of a community center.

This year, the VSLC is encouraging Buffalo State faculty and staff to bring age-appropriate family members, particularly those who need to fulfill high school community service requirements. Those who wish to work together in groups—such as families, student organizations, and class sections—are encouraged to register by the middle of next week by e-mailing the VSLC, calling 878-5811, or visiting Cleveland Hall 306.

Volunteers are asked to meet at the Buckham Campus School by 8:30 a.m.; bus transportation will be provided to and from most locations. Lunch is included, and all participants will receive a community service certificate from the college.

In addition to making Community Service Day more family-friendly, Laura Hill Rao, coordinator of the VSLC, is taking measures to make sure volunteers understand the purpose and positive effects of their contributions.

“At each work site, the day will begin with a five- to 10-minute orientation to learn how the work fits into the particular organization’s mission and activities,” she said. “At lunch, there will be a planned time of reflection on the good works performed.”

Rao said that many of the 16 work sites have been part of Community Service Day for a number of years, but that a few new community block clubs were added to the list based on neighborhood need.

Community Service Day is affiliated with Keep America Beautiful’s 2009 Great American Cleanup and is also connected to Earth Day, April 22. Rao said no matter what tasks volunteers perform, she is always amazed to see how much is accomplished in a few short hours.

“It’s fun to see the commitment and dedication build throughout the day,” she said. “The volunteers always return to campus with great enthusiasm for how they’ve helped.”

Funding for this year’s event is provided by the Auxiliary Services Grant Allocation Committee, the City of Buffalo Green Fund, M&T Bank, and United Students Government. Last year, nearly 350 Buffalo State students participated in Community Service Day.