Not Just a One-Day Thing

The student-run Community Service Network makes service a year-round commitment.

By Christina V. Tormey '98

As the spring semester wound down, the Community Service Network slowed not a bit. The group, which consists of about 100 members, ran its eighth annual benefit auction in April. The auction raised some $900 to help support Scott Quinn '98 on his cross-country bike ride to benefit the American Lung Cancer Association [see ICQ, winter 1998] and for the Ithaca Youth Bureau's Junior Olympics.

CSN was also actively involved in helping plan Ithaca College's Day of Service on March 27, running a volunteer fair so people who didn't have time to participate in projects off campus could stop by the Campus Center to draw pictures for the elderly, make decorations for local soup kitchen Loaves and Fishes, or choose and purchase books for children. CSN also collected $180 worth of cans and bottles for the Green Street Shelter and directed Day of Service coordinators to other organizations in the community that would benefit from extra help.

A way of life: CSN students run the volunteer fair during the Day of Service.

Charles Harrington photo

Stacey Landis '98 has been involved in the club throughout her four years at Ithaca College. "I joined because I really wanted the connection with the community," she says. "It's also really nice to give back to the community and be able to make people so happy."

The student-run group's five subcommittees deal with different issues in the Ithaca community: housing, aiding people with disabilities, literacy education, building relationships with the elderly, and advocacy for children. Members are active at Loaves and Fishes, Oakhill Manor (a local nursing home), Ithacare, Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, the Greater Ithaca Activities Center, and many other local organizations.

CSN also holds a "Homeless Sleep-Out" and "Hunger Banquet" early each school year. At the latter event participants are randomly assigned to different groups, each representing a different socioeconomic class. One group feasts on a banquet, while the other two consume either soup and bread or rice and water. Last semester Melissa Doron '99 represented the lowest class and sat on the floor eating rice off a paper plate. She commented afterward, "It got the point across."

This year CSN brought leftover food from the Towers and Terrace dining halls to Loaves and Fishes two nights a week. The group also ran "Random Acts of Kindness Week" and a "Hunger Cleanup"-part of a one-day national work-a-thon to raise money while cleaning soup kitchens or shelters.

"I was really glad and excited to see so many people participate [in the Day of Service]," says member Amy Cayouette '99. "But [community service] must continue regularly."  

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Web pages created by Andrejs Ozolins. 19 Oct 1999