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300 students volunteer with Reach Out! Day

Published: Monday, September 26, 2011

Updated: Monday, September 26, 2011 08:09

reach out

Virginia Bledsoe / Tufts Daily

Reach Out! Tufts Service Day sent 300 students into the greater Boston area for a day of volunteering at 26 local nonprofits.

The Leonard Carmichael Society (LCS) and Repair the World, an initiative run through Tufts Hillel, teamed up to send over 300 students to perform community service in the greater Boston area through Reach Out! Tufts Service Day on Friday, according to LCS co-President Kevin Huang.

The event paired roughly 20 groups of students with 26 local nonprofit groups for an afternoon of service, according to senior Hillary Sieber, student co-director of Repair the World. The day was designed to spark long-term student involvement in community service, Sieber noted.

"We were really hoping it would generate buzz and create a sustained effort, and show people how easy it really is to give back to the community," LCS co-President Amy Straus, a junior, said. "We wanted people to take their groups of friends and see that they could do something easy and helpful that could mean a lot to the community and be really valuable."

Organizers kicked off the event with a performance by Tufts a capella group S-Factor and short speeches by University President Anthony Monaco and Rabbi Jeffrey Summit, the executive director of Tufts Hillel.

Participants signed up to volunteer in groups, which included sports teams, fraternities, groups of friends and a cappella groups, according to Sieber. "It was an easy way for them, even though they're not typical philanthropic groups, to give back to the community and bond at the same time," she said.

The majority of nonprofit sites that took part in Reach Out! provide youth and elderly services or work on environmental sustainability projects. Participating sites included Groundwork Somerville, Cradles to Crayons, Eagle Eye Institute and the Eastern Service Workers Association, among others, according to Sieber.

"[Reach Out!] was also to show Medford and Somerville, as well as the Chinatown and Boston communities, that Tufts really supports the extending communities," Sieber said. Director of Community Relations Barbara Rubel, who serves as the LCS faculty advisor, said community groups highly value the work preformed by student volunteers.

"Nonprofits have big ambitions and have a very small staff and limited resources, so the efforts of college students are very much appreciated," Rubel said.

Though participants only conducted a day of service, organizers hope that students will continue to engage in community service throughout the year.

"We're trying to show students how easy it is to volunteer, and try and sustain that feeling throughout the year," Sieber said.

Organizers considered the day of service an overall success. "We had a great response from students who went out and were really excited about it," Sieber said.

Straus said they hope to make the event an annual occurrence. "I think because it was the first event and it was so successful, we can only go up from here," she said.

 

—Amelie Hecht contributed reporting to this article.

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