CityDays Promotes Community ServiceBy Jane Yoo
Over 700 students participated in the seventh annual CityDays Festival, a community service event sponsored by the Public Service Center.
According to Anne T. McLeod '00, coordinator of CityDays, the point of the event, held Sept. 4, was "to introduce students to service and inspire commitment."
This year's CityDays placed a greater emphasis on reaching out to all parts of the community, not only to children. Last year, approximately 400 children from Cambridge came to the MIT campus to participate in various activities. This year, students were sent to local service organizations to perform volunteer work.
Some of the service initiatives included serving food at local soup kitchens, beautifying parks, and cleaning and repairing shelters. In the largest project, sponsored by the Metropolitan District Commission, students planted 5,000 tulip bulbs along Memorial Drive.
Students appreciate event
In general, the reaction of most students to CityDays was favorable.
"It was a lot of fun. It was great to see so many people interested in helping the community," said Randi J. Cohen '00. "Everything ran really smoothly and was well-organized."
"I liked this year's hands-on approach," commented Marlene R. Cohen '02.
Working with children was "the best part of CityDays," said Paritosh Somana '01, community service chair of Phi Beta Epsilon. Brothers at the house took children from the Crossroads Family Shelter to the Museum of Science for the day.
Volunteers from fraternities, sororities, independent living groups, dormitories, and student organizations spent the day helping agencies in the cities of Cambridge, Boston, Roxbury, Dorchester, and Somerville.
CityDays not only offered students to become acquainted with the community, but also among themselves. "It was a chance for the brothers and pledges to work together," said Greg Dennis '02 from Phi Sigma Kappa.
To kick off the event, students gathered around Kresge Oval to hear the keynote speaker, Robert Lewis, talk about the importance of the work that would be accomplished by the students and the value of the service that they would be providing to the community.
In the afternoon, groups dispersed and left for different sites to work on various service projects.
Volunteer fair motivates students
After returning from their day of service, students gathered in Johnson Athletic Center to attend the CityDays volunteer fair. Students received free T-shirts as well as Ben and Jerry's ice cream, popcorn and cotton candy donated by MIT catering. In addition, representatives from several dozen service agencies in the local area were present to recruit student volunteers for the coming school term.
Many students expressed interest in returning to the service organizations.
"I'm planning to continue my volunteer work during the year," said Paul H. Elliott '01