Over 100 Siena students were hard at work in the Albany community on Saturday, Oct. 6. Why? It was the annual Fall Community Service Day. Community Service Day is an event planned and sponsored by the Franciscan Center for Service and Advocacy here on campus. The Franciscan Center has been working on the event for a couple months, and all their hard work paid off.
The event connects Siena students with local not-for-profit organizations in the community to do service for the day. Some of the organizations include Red Cross, the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless, Joseph’s House, Patroon Land Farm and several others. Some students even did work on campus with the Sustainability Committee. Volunteer work includes anything from organizing and cleaning to gardening to direct service with people in need.
The day started bright and early in the Maloney Great Room where participants were greeted with breakfast from Panera and Dunkin, and a free t-shirt, then packed a bag of snacks to bring to their service site. There is also plenty of time to meet Siena students that you may not have met otherwise because you can be paired with friends to a service site, in addition to new people. When I spoke with Olivia Marsicano ’20, she said, “While we had breakfast, we met the other volunteers that we spent the day with. Then we carpooled with other Siena students to our chosen location.” It’s beneficial to get to know more of your fellow Saints. Marsicano added, “I like getting to know more of the Siena students!”
As said before, students were sent to a variety of different locations for a variety of different jobs. Marsicano went to 15-Love, an organization that combines learning the sport of tennis with educating kids and reaching out in positive ways to inner-city youth. According to their website, “15-LOVE’s mission is focused upon the whole child. It is a program of prevention.” Over the years, the program has evolved on a year-round basis, impacting more than 47,000 youth and their families. When asked about the tasks she did, Marsicano said, “We helped to organize and clean the space as well as clean up their garden and pick vegetables.” She also made an impact on a space that will be used for an important mural, and she explained, “I helped the girl in charge to clean a wall in preparation for a mural that will be painted on it next month.”
Personally, this was my sixth Community Service Day with the Franciscan Center. I have been able to engage with the Albany community in so many ways through the service opportunities they provide. I have gotten to partake in a range of service through the Community Service Days. I have done work on campus, at the Schenectady Inner City Ministry Food Pantry and Equinox, among others. Many students are similar to me in that Community Service Day has become a tradition for them to attend in the fall and spring semesters. Marsicano is an example of this, she said, “This was my third Community Service Day and I always enjoy seeing what we accomplish while we’re there.”
As Arthur Ashe, tennis legend and humanitarian said, “From what we get, we make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” Community Service Day is definitely a great way to give back and make a difference. Be on the lookout for registration for Spring 2019 Community Service Day!