Hundreds of Wildcats give back to Durham community through UNH Serves

Bret Belden

Approximately 450 Wildcats dedicated their Saturday afternoon on Nov. 5 to giving back to the greater UNH community, according to UNH Community Service Coordinator Megan Brabec.unnamed-1 The fourth annual UNH Serves Day brought UNH students from different residence halls, campus organizations and clubs to 24 different locations throughout the Seacoast region and Manchester. Brabec said that the UNH Serves program encourages students to get off campus and become more engaged in the greater community that the university is a part ofunnamed-3 .

“It sounded like a great way to spend my Saturday,” first year neuroscience major Siobhan Pelletier said. She volunteered her time picking up trash around the college brook with Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation. “I think we [UNH] have so many students we can create a lot of change.”unnamed-4

Originally created by Residential Life Assistant Director Mary Faucher as a way to engage first year students with each other and their community, the service day has expanded to include students from all years and is now a collaborative effort with the Office of Community Service and Learning. Scott Hall Director and UNH Serves committee member Jackie Klinger said that with this year’s event, UNH Serves partnered with the Celebrate 150 campaign for additional funding that provided volunteers with snacks, t-shirts and water bottlesunnamed-5

First year student Alexis Turner was among the group of students making blankets in Stoke Hall for Project Linus, which, according to its website, is a nonprofit organization that provides blankets to children in need. Klinger said that the fleece blankets made on Saturday would be going to hospitalized children. 

“When I found out [UNH Serves volunteers] would be making blankets for kids, I wanted to make as many as I could,” Turner said.unnamed-6

On the other side of campus at the Freedom Café (10 Mill Road), 10 volunteers helped clean the nonprofit coffee shop dedicated to ending human trafficking. According to Freedom Café’s design intern Nick Davini, since the café is run solely by volunteers and it’s difficult for everything to get done, the help from UNH Serves volunteers was much appreciated.

“It feels good to be able to help [the Freedom Café] out,” sophomore biomedical science major Catherine Peraro said. “Especially knowing that they just run on volunteer help.”unnamed-7

A little farther off campus, 12 students helped to prepare Durham Public Library’s grounds for winter by raking leaves and clearing out its rain gardens. According to  Durham Public Library Assistant Director Nancy Miner, the yard work is not something the library has the manpower to do, so the student volunteers were very helpful.

“The library considers UNH students as part of our community,” Miner said. “We really like having the students involved in this day.”

unnamed-8In addition to the day of service, the UNH Serves webpage states that other events are being organized across the country in various alumni’s local communities. According to the website, UNH Serves Denver and UNH Serves Florida Southeast Seacoast will take place on Saturday, Nov. 12. The website says that these national events show “the impact that the UNH alumni network can have when we come together in productive and meaningful ways to serve our local communities.”