UMass students to volunteer in communities as part of Mass Impact Day

By Michael Turner

Courtesy of Feed My Starving Children/Flickr

Though relations between the University of Massachusetts and surrounding towns have been shaky at times in the past, the university is striving to work toward a better relationship.     UMass students will give back to the community this Saturday with the second annual Mass Impact Day. Beginning at 9 a.m. at the Haigis Mall, the day of service is part of the university’s sesquicentennial celebration.

Volunteers will fan out across the Pioneer Valley, doing service work in multiple communities, from nearby towns like Amherst, all the way to Springfield.

The service work will range from visiting elders and cleaning up public lands, painting buildings and giving care and support to those in need.
Many students are excited to work as a community for the collective good of Western Massachusetts, including UMass student Savannah Waters.

“It is very exciting to be part of something larger than myself,” she said.  “I feel that there should be more opportunities for the campus as a whole to do community service. I am looking forward to working with friends and professors and local residents.”

Students, alumni, faculty and university staff are all encouraged to participate in the event. The Student Government Association fully supports Mass Impact Day, and the vast majority of student representatives will be site leaders scattered throughout the communities to guide and aid in service efforts.

Many organizations have collaborated to organize this event. Mass Impact Day is sponsored by Student Affairs and Campus Life, External Relations, the Student Government Association and the Alumni Association. Alden Credit Union is donating funds to finance the day of service.

Numerous other organizations are participating in service efforts. YMCA Greenfield, UMass Permaculture, Big Brother Big Sister, Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts are all participating in Mass Impact Day.

Michael Turner can be reached at [email protected]