Lehman council sponsors community service day for first year students

Despite a low turnout, first-year students enjoyed Lehman Community Service Council’s service day on Saturday.

Dan Nehmad ’99, the Council’s president said 100 students signed up to participate in the day’s activities, prompting the Council to request several large vans to transport students to projects. However, only 50 students showed up at Chapin on Saturday.

“It’s frustrating to have to deal with such a large range between people signing up and actually showing up,” Nehmad said. “Especially with freshmen I think it is because they have a tendency to sign up for everything.”

Nehmad added that the Council frequently has problems getting everyone who signs up for a project to follow through with their commitment.

Nevertheless, Nehmad said he wasn’t disappointed with the overall turnout. Last year approximately 40 first-years came out for the day.

“I am not disturbed,” he said. “But of course I think it would be great if we could have more people participating.”

Geraldine Shen ’01, who has been working with the Lehman Council for two years, said, “We knew not to expect everyone who signed up to come. But as usual, the people who turned out were really enthusiastic.”

Nehmad said first-years traveled to Pittsfield and Adams to help out at two homeless shelters. At the shelter in Pittsfield students painted, and at the Louison House in North Adams they assisted with fall clean-up activities, such as raking leaves.

In addition, Director of the Outing Club Scott Lewis led a trail crew that constructed a bridge in conjunction with the day’s activities.

First-year students who participated had favorable impressions of the day’s activities.

“I thought it was fun,” said Daniel Schwab ’02, who helped wash walls at the Pittsfield shelter. “I was glad to get out and do something constructive to help other people.”

“This was the first time I did a service project with the Lehman Council,” said Alix Partnow ‘02, who went to the Louison House. “I was impressed by the number of people who showed up. I will definitely do another service project sometime this year.”

Many of the service projects on Saturday kept to a Halloween theme. For example, residents at Willowood, a local nursing home, received a bit of Halloween cheer from costumed students passing out candy.

The Halloween theme continued in the basement of Baxter Hall, where first-year students put together a haunted house for area children on Saturday afternoon.

Another group went to the Williamstown Elementary School to host a Halloween party for the Williamstown Youth Center.

Jessica Purcell, a first-year who went to the nursing home, said, “It made me feel good to get out on a holiday and help make other people happy.”

Chris Warsaw ’02 said he enjoyed seeing children he knows from the community come through the haunted house. “I actually knew a lot of the kids who came through because I’ve been doing Outdoor Outreach with the Lehman Council for the past few weeks,” he said. “I thought Frosh Service Day worked out very well.”

Shen, who went to the Brayton Apartments, said, “Frosh Community Service Day was a success in terms of sending people to projects. Because so many kids signed up in the first place, we were concerned we might not have enough projects for people to go to. But not everyone that signed up actually came.”

Nehmad said the Lehman Community Service Council has sponsored three first-year service days since spring of 1997. This year, the service day was switched to a fall date for the first time.

Nehmad added that the Council will reassess the first-year service day to determine how big of an affair it should be next year.

In addition to its first-year community service days, the Lehman Council organizes an all-campus service day, and has one planned for this spring.

The Council uses funds they receive from the College Council to sponsor regular community service projects. The Council also offers weekly service opportunities from 10 a.m. until noon on Saturdays.