Campus rallies together for annual Day of Service

Izzy ManzoPhoto Editor

Students volunteered around the greater New Haven area and on campus on during Southern’s annual Day of Service.

On Sept. 28 students and peer mentors were bused to various sights where they were given numerous task. The overall goal being to leave their assigned sight better than the found it.

Peer mentor and accounting major Victoria Neves, a senior, took a group of students to Southern’s Campus Community Garden, where they assisted garden manager Ellie Carlino, a graduate intern, with maintaining the garden.

Neves said she has participated in Day of Service three times; once her freshman year and twice as a peer mentor, where she volunteered at Blake Street and downtown neighborhoods on Livable City Initiative sites.

“I’ve done the garden, actually, my freshman year,” Carlino said, “and now I’m back for my senior year.”

Carlino said, while the garden occasionally gets volunteers, around half of the work falls on her and students.

“It’s basically me and then a couple of student workers and, like I said, volunteers here and there,” she said.

Carlino, along with the student workers, all get paid, meaning that they have limited hours to take care of the garden in a given week.

“That’s why days like today, when we have the volunteers to help, it is a big help because, you know, I’m only paid to be here for a certain amount of hours per week,” Carlino said. “So we can only get so much work done. So, the extra volunteer work really does help.”

Although the group only consisted of five students, Carlino said they held their weight.

The work which mostly consisted of weeding around the garden, was completed quickly and efficiently.

“They’ve done a really awesome job,” she said. “I’m really excited.”

While Day of Service has been mandatory for students in the past, this year it was optional.

However, students such as finance major Sarah Lemere, a freshman, said she still decided to volunteer for Day of Service because the event was for a good cause.

“It’s something to do to help out and give back,” said Lemere.

Although members of the community garden are dependent on volunteer work, they give back to the community as well — Carlino said that she works with New Haven farms to get seedlings, and food from the garden is used in a variety of ways once it is grown.

“We donate a lot of the food to St. Ann’s Parish, [and] now we have the farmer’s market, that happens bi-weekly; I think it’s every other Monday,” she said.

According to Southern’s website, the garden also donates a share of produce to families in nearby neighborhoods every week. The garden works with the community Alliance for Research and Engagement, which was founded by the Yale School of Public Health and works to find solutions to health issues such as diabetes and asthma.

CARE’S website states that its partnership with Southern is part of “on going efforts to improve the health of residents in New Haven’s lowest-income neighborhoods.”

Neves said she hopes through participating in the Day of Service, students became more engaged and familiar with their community.

“[For] the next four years, this is your home,” said Neves, “so you just [have to] keep giving back to get and receive all of the good that comes out of it.”

Photo credit: Izzy Manzo

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