On Saturday, Oct. 18 SUNY New Paltz will be hosting their annual Make A Difference Day (MDDAY) funded by Campus Auxiliary Services.
New Paltz is having their event a week prior to the national MDDAY because of the conflict with the school’s open house day, according to Director of Union Services Mike Patterson, co-chair of the event.
Patterson said the purpose of the event is to recruit students to volunteer at locations in Ulster County.
“The goal with this program is to introduce students to service in an easy way,” Patterson said.
Currently, Patterson said 335 students are signed up to participate at 16 different locations, with five more locations expected to be added prior to the event. This is a new record for the school.
The students will volunteer from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Patterson said the students will be bussed to their locations and receive a t-shirt and snack pack donated by Sodexo and CAS, which includes a granola bar, cookies, a bottle of water and a piece of fruit.
Patterson said the students will be doing farmwork, helping local centers in town and helping Hasbrouck Park set up their haunted house for October.
MDDAY Committee Member and Resident Director of College and Shango Hall Tony DiRusso said New Paltz has been participating in MDDAY for the past 10 years to help out those in need in Ulster County.
DiRusso said being involved with MDDAY is a good way for students to learn the benefits of charity work.
“They [students] get to learn a little more about themselves and then realize that they can be positive role models and citizens and they can realize that they can give back,” Dirusso said.
Patterson said on Friday, Oct. 17 there will be a collection drive on campus collecting pet food, treats and toys. These items will be donated to the Ulster County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Heart of the Catskill Humane Society. Students will be working with those agencies at the PetSmart in Kingston, New York.
Donations can be given Friday, Oct. 17 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Student Union 2nd Floor Pre-function Space and outside Humanities 105.
Students will also be at the ShopRite in New Paltz collecting food that will be donated to the Student Christian Center’s food pantry on campus, Patterson said.
DiRusso said the residence hall with the highest percentage of residents participating will receive $200 to be used on supplies, programs or their end-of-the-year auction.
After the event, DiRusso said the site leaders will be recognized one week later at a reflection session in the Student Union Building.
With so many students signed up over a week before the event, Patterson said he is already looking ahead to see how more students can contribute next year.
“I think it’s a great program and it continues to be record-breaking every year,” Patterson said. “It’ll certainly have us looking into next year to see how we can further increase student participation.”
Students are still able to register, but they will be placed on a waiting list until spots open up.