Pictured: Annette Zbodula, administrative assistant for educational and development assessment at NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine, participating in the food drive, one of the initiatives held during New York Tech's Community Engagement Day.
Each year, New York Institute of Technology holds Community Engagement Day, when all New York Tech campuses collaborate with community partners to positively engage with their communities.
On April 14, 300 participants, including students, faculty, staff, and alumni, participated in 17 projects proposed by members of the New York Tech community, logging 919.25 hours of service. The work put in by each participant has created a total economic impact that equates to $28,452, increasing the impact from 2020 by 72 percent.
Though options for activities were limited due to social distancing, New York Tech members found safe ways for participants to get involved. Adrienne McNally, director of experiential education, expressed how pleased she is with everyone’s ability to “[find] ways we can connect with each other, which provided an important way for us to do positive work in our communities even while we’re physically apart.”
Some of the remote activities included a fundraiser that led to the purchase of 109 school supplies; a pet food drive that collected 594 items; two letter-writing campaigns, which resulted in the mailing of 103 letters to children at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital; and 15 cards to senior citizens; as well as an online discussion group titled “The 567,715,” which aims to form a club that can combat the effects of homelessness.
“The Community Engagement Day event, though virtual, created an environment for us to be able to have a conversation about something that we are passionate about,” said architectural technology majors Elise Park and Hannah Somers, who started The 567,715 community project. Park also noted the value of “being able to create connections with students that hold similar interests and values” and how the experience has been beneficial in their journey to assist the homeless through a club at New York Tech.
People also took part in safe in-person activities, including two trash cleanups; a clothing drive; a food drive, which resulted in the donation of 85 lbs. of food; and opportunities to volunteer at vaccination clinics, which led to the distribution of 2,377 vaccines.
“I created the ‘Less Trash, More Treasure’ community clean-up event because I am passionate about keeping this world clean so that all can enjoy it now and in the future,” said Joanne West, interim associate dean of students and director of student engagement. Her strategy for this simple yet powerful initiative was to have participants take some time out of their day to clean up any public space that they felt needed attention. “I also wanted to make an event that is easy for a whole family to participate while remaining safe and socially distant.”
This article was contributed by psychology major Carmine Velez (B.S. ’22).