Alumni join in on President's Day of Service

This fall, Johns Hopkins alumni will once again join forces on the President's Day of Service, volunteering their time and energy for the betterment of communities across the country.

Originally created as a community outreach activity for the freshman class, the event was expanded for the inauguration of President Ron Daniels in 2009 to include everyone in the Johns Hopkins family. Last year, alumni in eight different cities—from Los Angeles to New York—coordinated their own service projects in conjunction with the university's undergraduate event in Baltimore.

"We really want to build this into a campus tradition," says Center for Social Concern Assistant Director Kirsten Bishop, who is organizing the October 11 event. "The President's Day of Service has become a hallmark of the undergraduate experience, and we are seeing alumni from all Johns Hopkins schools extend this experience beyond the university and Baltimore."

Each fall, the center works with several dozen community partners to arrange projects like neighborhood cleanups, painting, gardening, and support of local events for nonprofits. Last year, one group of volunteers used kayaks and canoes to fill an entire dumpster with garbage from the Inner Harbor in a matter of hours.

"Part of the president's message in this whole practice is a 'One Hopkins' mentality," says Krystle Ongaco, the assistant director of regional communities at Development and Alumni Relations. "So that's kind of our reach for the alumni as well in these different cities. Even though you've graduated, regardless of how many years out you are, here's a way to stay connected to JHU."

Alumni in Philadelphia put together care packages for Cradles to Crayons, a nonprofit that helps low-income children with essentials they may need for school and at home. In Seattle, alumni planted native trees and removed invasives at Pigeon Point Park, which helps make up the city's largest greenbelt.

"We had a great time getting our hands dirty, listening to music, and meeting others in the alumni community," says Wren Haaland, A&S '09, the Seattle event organizer and former head of the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association Seattle Chapter. "It's nice we can improve our own community in a way that's really fun."

Teddy Krolik, a community organizer for Baltimore's Reservoir Hill Improvement Council, has hosted President's Day of Service volunteers in the past. He says he always hopes the Day of Service will turn Johns Hopkins students into regular volunteers, either for his organization or others across the country.

"It seems as if the students really enjoy it—they all thank us afterwards," says Krolik. "It doesn't seem like they're tapped out at the end of it."

To learn more about alumni volunteer opportunities on the President's Day of Service, click here.

Posted in University News

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