Brown paper bags with messages


Community Engagement Day 2024

April 29, 2024

Pictured: Students and staff packed 50 lunches in paper bags with messages of affirmation and served them to the unhoused population in areas near the New York City campus.

In April, New York Tech celebrated its sixth Community Engagement Day. While the annual day of service was officially April 10, volunteerism took place throughout the month. More than 340 faculty, staff, and students from the university’s Long Island, New York City, Jonesboro, and Vancouver campuses participated in 32 community-based initiatives. Participants contributed more than 600 hours, equating to $21,568.84 in economic impact.

“It is inspiring to see such a large portion of the New York Tech family giving back to the local community, donating to a special cause, or addressing a societal issue that is important to them. As a team, we can all make a significant difference,” Assistant Director of Experiential Education Askia VanOmmeren says. “I am grateful to the students, faculty, staff, and alumni that took time out of their busy schedules to plan, promote, and join in on the great work that happens every year during Community Engagement Day.”

The acts of volunteerism addressed a range of community needs and causes and spanned all New York Tech campuses. Among the many impressive activities that took place, these highlights were shared with New York Tech News.

In New York City, students and staff visited Capital Preparatory Schools in Harlem to discuss college life with senior students who also presented their capstone social justice research projects. In addition, students and staff packed 50 lunches in paper bags with messages of affirmation and served them to the unhoused population in areas near the campus. M.B.A. student Shavi Diwan and a group of her peers visited Golden Years Adult Day Care Center in Queens to provide an afternoon yoga and wellness workshop for older adults. On Long Island, the Learning Center held a book donation drive and collected 150 books in collaboration with Book Fairies, a Freeport, N.Y.-based group that distributes books to under-resourced communities.

College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University (NYITCOM-Arkansas) students participated in Arkansas D.O. Day of Service, where 24 students cleaned up Craighead Forest Park in Jonesboro and visited the senior housing center St. Bernard’s Village to assist in the residents’ weekly Bingo game. Students and staff in Vancouver cleaned up the beach at Trout Lake in John Hendry Park and served at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.

Additionally, Tech Threads, which provides students free access to professional clothing on the Long Island and New York City campuses, celebrated its soft opening with a donation drive collecting more than 200 clothing items, totaling $2,800. And both New York campuses hosted the New York Blood Center, totaling 76 pints of donated blood.

“Community Engagement Day was a great reminder that small acts of service can have a big impact. While a home-cooked meal might seem routine to many of us, for the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House, it can be a comfort or bring a sense of normalcy amidst challenging circumstances,” says Director of Student Communications SaraJane McCaslin, who led a team of 12 staff members from Enrollment Services to cook, pack, and serve meals for more than 60 in-need families. “It’s humbling to be part of a community that comes together to support families during their toughest times.”

This article was contributed by Askia VanOmmeren, assistant director of experiential education.