The Max A. Shacknai Center for Volunteerism, Outreach, and Education (COVE) launched its programming for the academic year on Friday, September 7, with its annual 9/11 Afternoon of Service.
More than 70 students spent the afternoon helping at seven nonprofit organizations in Hamilton, making it one of the largest turnouts since the event began in 2002. This year alone, Colgate students cleaned dozens of freely available bikes, set up educational materials and library events for Hamilton’s children, and cleared a number of trails in Hamilton’s wooded areas.
“One thing that I find so special and necessary about our afternoons of service is that they allow students to get off campus — even if it is just for a short time,” said event organizer Gaby Bianchi ’19. “I think that finding a sense of community both within and beyond Colgate is such an important part of the college experience.”
9/11 afternoons of service were originally organized by volunteer groups nationwide, both to remember the victims of the September 11 attacks and to honor the ways in which New York City residents came together in response to them. “In remembering 9/11, we at the COVE want to highlight the strength of community as well as the enormous impact that working with the community can have,” Bianchi said.
Traditionally, the 9/11 Afternoon of Service is COVE’s first large public event of the year and introduces many first-year students to the organization — the largest volunteer network on campus. Eliza Lloyd ’22 is one such first-year, who spent her day at Hamilton Community Bikes, which provides free bicycles for low-income locals without access to cars or public transportation.
“I really enjoyed my afternoon of service with COVE,” Lloyd said. “Cleaning bicycles is such a small task, but it felt really great to be able to contribute to the larger purpose of Community Bikes. I’m definitely looking to do more projects with COVE.”