Ten dozen donuts and bagels, 100 granola bars, 5 boxes of coffee, 150 bag lunches, and 150 T-shirts.
That’s what it took to fuel 150 Williams students who fanned out across 14 nearby schools, churches, and nonprofit organizations for this year’s Great Day of Service in April.
The women’s soccer team headed up to Florida Mountain’s Manice Education Center to help clear winter trail debris, turn compost, and lay down wood chips in preparation for the center’s organic gardening program. First-year students from the Williams F. entry cleared fence lines, planted potatoes, and painted fences at Caretaker Farm.
Others judged middle-school projects at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts science fair, built an access ramp for a Habitat for Humanity project, helped the Adams Police Department collect unused prescription drugs, and cataloged items for a technology drive at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Still others did clean-up projects with students at Brayton Elementary School, high schoolers at Mount Greylock Regional, and at-risk youth at Berkshire Farm Center.
This is the 13th year that The Great Day of Service has been organized by students in Williams’ Lehman Council, who worked for weeks in advance—and from 7 a.m. on the day of—to make sure it all ran like clockwork. Lehman member Kairav Sinha ’15 surveyed Williams participants and found that 97 percent said the event exceeded their expectations, 100 percent said they felt their efforts were appreciated, and 100 percent said they’d volunteer again.
Williams students engage with the off-campus community throughout the year. Their efforts, along with curricular initiatives to link learning with experiences beyond the classroom, have recently come together in the new Center for Learning in Action.
“We hope to build on this momentum next year,” says Sinha, “not only on the Great Day of Service but throughout the year, continuing to support engagement experiences that enrich the lives of Williams students and community members.”