Nearly 500 Cornell students will go Into the Streets (ITS) for the 25th annual Day of Service, Oct. 21 and 22, to help local nonprofit agencies and public organizations through volunteer projects.
The student-led program, under the auspices of the Cornell Public Service Center, mobilizes students to foster social change in one of Cornell’s largest philanthropic efforts.
Last year, ITS leaders renewed the organization’s emphasis of promoting a lifetime commitment to service among members of the Cornell community.
“This will be our second year introducing the survey tracking system to better address the needs of the community,” said Raquel Zerbib ’17, Into the Streets co-president. “Based on last year’s results, we recognized that there was a need to facilitate further conversation on the core issues of the agencies, as well as provide a method of communication between Cornell students and our community partners after the event.
“We intend to roll out a newsletter of ongoing volunteer opportunities with our community partners that will be sent out to volunteers either monthly or twice a month depending on volume of volunteer requests,” she said. “The hope is that this newsletter will make the agencies more accessible, especially after already having volunteered at the site on Into the Streets.”
Students can sign up individually or in groups, representing, for example, sports teams, Greek houses, program houses and extracurricular clubs. ITS – along with another student group, Cornell Hunger Relief – also partners with other organizations to support the Thanksgiving Turkey Donation Drive, which provides turkeys to families in Tompkins and Chemung counties.
“My hope for this year is that by really understanding what agencies do on a day-to-day basis, volunteers will have a more meaningful volunteer experience and will want to continue their involvement with the local community,” Zerbib said. “Into the Streets aims to encourage a lifetime of service through a one-time community engagement opportunity, and as an executive board, we are hoping that the changes we have implemented in the past two years will help us in achieving our mission.”
Among the 35 agency partners students will serve this year are Catholic Charities, the Family Reading Partnership, Loaves and Fishes, Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County, Historic Ithaca, Cayuga Ridge Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, Finger Lakes ReUse, the Tompkins County Public Library, the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes, Sustainable Tompkins and the Women’s Opportunity Center.