The 13th annual Make a Difference Day enjoyed one of the highest student participation rates in the program’s history, as nearly 350 SUNY New Paltz students gave their time and energy on Saturday, Oct. 21, to more than 30 regional non-profit organizations, environmental causes and youth centers.
“Colleges and universities exist to educate the next generations of contributing, thoughtful citizens,” said President Donald P. Christian. “But we also exist in a broader community, draw on that community, and have responsibilities to serve our communities. Our students’ volunteer work today helps serves that purpose for New Paltz.”
Each of the partner organizations – which included everything from Phillies Bridge Farm and the Ulster County SPCA, to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh and the New Paltz Rescue Squad – met its maximum capacity of requested volunteers.
“The Make a Difference Day program allows us to introduce our students to service and civic engagement in our region,” said Michael Patterson, director of Student Activities & Union Services. “We make it easy by handling all the logistics and coordination, and our partner agencies are great in educating our students and helping them have an impact both locally and in a global society. Our desire is always for participating students to understand the value of service, so that they are empowered and inspired to volunteer again.”
The Make a Difference Day Committee also hosted a food collection drive on Friday, Oct. 20, in the Student Union Building. Donors contributed nearly 100 food items and nearly $300.
On Saturday, the emphasis was on hands-on service. Students met on campus for a brief orientation before busing to sites throughout the Hudson Valley, where they met and worked alongside community organizers, activists, lifelong volunteers and even a few furry friends.
“I am always excited to see so many enthusiastic SUNY New Paltz students come together for our largest service event of the year,” said Service Learning Coordinator Erica Wagner. “Our volunteers provided more than 2,000 hours of service while exploring the Mid-Hudson Valley and engaging with local non-profit organizations to address some of their greatest needs.”
Make a Difference Day is jointly organized by the Office of Student Activities & Union Services and the Career Resource Center. Visit them for more information about how to get involved with this and other volunteer opportunities.
30 Days of Giving 2017:
- Day 1: Shopping with a Smile
- Day 2: Erie Community College Cook-Off for Kidneys
- Day 3: Stony Brook Medicine Helps in Puerto Rico
- Day 4: A Day of Service at Onondaga CC
- Day 5: New Paltz Students Make a Difference
- Day 6: Buffalo State College Dares to Care
- Day 7: Niagara County CC Students Lend A Hand for Thanksgiving
- Day 8: Old Westbury Helps Haiti
- Day 9: A Day of Service at SUNY Potsdam
- Day 10: Helping Animals at Hudson Valley Community College
- Day 11: FIT Students Help the Homeless
- Day 12: Morrisville Athletes Go Local For Service
- Day 13: SUNY Poly Gives Back Throughout the Region
- Day 14: SUNY Oswego Honors Those Battling Ovarian Cancer
- Day 15: Brockport Students Volunteer at Thanksgiving
- Day 16: SUNY ESF Sends Acorns to Action
- Day 17: Doors Open at the Columbia-Greene Community College Giving Closet
- Day 18: Monroe Community College Helps Walk for Water
- Day 19: SUNY Cortland Supports Crop Hunger Walk
- Day 20: Making Music at Farmingdale State to Help the Hungry
- Day 21: Increasing Food Security at Dutchess Community College
- Day 22: Addressing Food Insecurity On and Around SUNY Geneseo
- Day 23: Westchester Community College Plays the UnHunger Games
- Day 24: Binghamton University Builds University Assisted Community Schools
- Day 25: Mohawk Valley Community College Gives Back To Their Community
- Day 26: SUNY Oneonta Students Help Area Children Learn
- Day 27: Rockland Community College Comes Together to Aid Puerto Rico
- Day 28: Empire State College Donates to Caribbean Relief
- Day 29: Schenectady County Community College Students Provide Support to Foster Families
- Day 30: Raising Guiding Eyes at SUNY Delhi