175 Acts of Service
by Mary McLaughlin, Director of Residential Education
The college celebrated its 175th anniversary in October 2012, but thanks to the Colby-Sawyer Community Service Club, the effects of this milestone continue to ripple through the college, the town and the world.
As an ongoing tribute to the college's anniversary, students, faculty and staff are engaged in 175 Acts of Service, an initiative developed by Associate Dean of Students and Director of Citizenship Education Robin Davis and spearheaded by the Community Service Club.
The kick-off for 175 Acts of Service took place during Orientation with Operation Write Home, which invited new students to make postcards to send to military personnel. We wanted to get students involved right away, explains Julie Crisafi, parent and community partnerships coordinator and advisor to the Community Service Club. Many did community service work in high school, so we wanted to provide the opportunity to get them engaged as soon as they arrived on campus. Since August 2012, the Community Service Club and other members of the college community have undertaken a variety of service projects. In October, we did a lot of work for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, says Community Service Club President Taylor Wright '15. We raised over $2,000 through T-shirt sales and a raffle at the marketplace during Alumni Weekend.
The 175 Acts of Service project has been even more successful than Dean Davis imagined. There is great momentum behind it, she says. Students have been great about volunteering for on- and off-campus projects. Several students have volunteered multiple times throughout the semester. In fact, according to Dean Davis, Student Government Association President Nick Ciarlante '14 has committed to doing 175 acts of service himself this year.
Dean Davis reports that athletic teams have engaged in acts of service as well. The Chargers' baseball team has been particularly involved in work that serves the local community. They have gone above and beyond, she says.
With such enthusiastic involvement, 175 acts of service were completed by October, but the momentum and the program continue. I'd love to see 1,175 acts of service, says Davis.
That big dream might just become reality, based on plans the Community Service Club had for projects connected with Martin Luther King Day and National Random Acts of Kindness Week, and a major culminating event. In April, Colby-Sawyer will host its first Relay For Life, which will be the culminating event of 175 Acts of Service, says Crisafi. Designed to raise awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society, Crisafi and Wright expect participation to be high and include teams, athletic clubs and organizations, as well as faculty, staff and alumni teams.
Wright hopes that students, in particular, will get involved in the Relay for Life or other acts of service this year. Community service projects are a lot of fun and an easy way to be an active member of your community, she says. Opportunities are everywhere and the options are endless. All you need is an idea and a desire to help.