Students join community in clean-up for fall

The campus was unusually busy and colorful Saturday as students wearing bright orange volunteer shirts gathered to participate in SUNY Buffalo State’s Fall Community Service Day.

At 12:30 p.m., Campbell Student Union was filled with students who wanted to volunteer their time to work on projects around Buffalo. The students split into various groups depending on which projects they wanted to work on.

Volunteer opportunities included gardening, cleaning and painting, as well as organization and maintenance jobs. Many of the projects were located near campus. Buses were provided to transport students to sites that were further away.

Most of the groups were made up of 10-20 students and two site leaders.

Kristine Assue, a business administration junior, and Zoe Fabian, an art education masters student, were among the site leaders this year. They led a group of students down Grant Street for a street clean up organized by Alex Schmitt of Westminster Economic Development Initiative, Inc.

Both Assue and Fabian have been involved in Community Service Day since their freshman years, but this is the first year either have been site leaders. They became site leaders through their involvement with AmeriCorps.

“It was a different perspective for me,” Assue said. “But I think it went well.”

The group gathered in front of Asarese-Matters Community Center, where they were given gloves and trash bags. After going over some safety regulations, they split into two groups to cover both sides of the street.

The groups picked up trash and recyclables in the area between Asarese-Matters Community Center and the West Side Bazaar. They were joined by volunteers from other organizations, including WEDI members and a student from the University at Buffalo.

Volunteers cleaned along sidewalks, in empty lots and around parking lots.

Cleaning the mile-long strip took about three hours. When the group was finished, they gathered at the Bazaar, where they took a group photograph. They also had the opportunity to sample some Ethiopian sambusa before they headed back to campus.

Both Assue and Fabian considered the day a success.

“I think it went very well,” said Fabian.

They also noted that there are plenty of reasons for students to volunteer for events such as this, and that it can be very beneficial to them.

“It gives students a valuable experience outside of the classroom,” Assue said.

“And it’s important for students to take care of the community they live in,” added Fabian.

The community seemed to appreciate it. During the clean up, the group was greeted by a number of passersby who thanked them for their work.

“It felt good to help out,” said Christopher Vickers, a communication design freshman. “And it felt good when people on the streets said ‘good job.’”

Vickers stated that he volunteered in part to fulfill a scholarship requirement, but also because he wanted to do some community service while he was living on campus. As a Long Island native, the event also gave him the opportunity become more familiar with Buffalo.

“I liked seeing another part of the community,” said Vickers. “It was good to see what’s around here.”

Community Service Day lasted until 4 p.m. At that time, students began returning to campus or heading home.

A number of different organizations were involved in Community Service Day, including the American Red Cross, Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo and None Like You, We Care Outreach.

Students interested in community service can contact the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center on campus. The center regularly sponsors volunteer opportunities throughout Buffalo for students to participate in.


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