On Saturday, April 18, students, faculty, alumni and community members came together to clean up the Elizabethtown College campus with beautification projects, including mulching, planting trees and flowers and picking up trash.
In 1901, the first “Campus Improvement Day” was held, and the College has kept up the yearly tradition. In 2011, with the collaboration of Student Senate and the Office of Alumni Relations, the day was renamed PRIDE Day.
“PRIDE Day is a terrific tradition that enables everyone who loves Etown to join together in support of our campus and community,” director of alumni relations Mark Clapper, ’96, said. “It is an excellent example of how non-monetary contributions of time and skill can make an incredible difference in a short amount of time.”
Members of Volunteer Opportunities Committee (VOC) oversaw the coordination of PRIDE Day. PRIDE, which stands for Promote, Recruit, Involve, Donate and Employ, is a collaborative program of the offices of Admissions, Alumni Relations, Career Services and Development. PRIDE’s main focus is to encourage volunteer engagement that in turn supports the College.
This year, there were 224 student, alumni and community volunteers. “I learned community is really important here at Etown, especially because of the amount of people who volunteered their time,” first-year Kristie Hoppe said. “I also thought it was really cool how community members came out to help and it wasn’t just the students.”
Collectively, the volunteers donated over 230 hours of work, which in turn saved the College an estimated $4,600.00 in landscaping and maintenance fees. Additionally, with the help of alumna Barbara Baker ’89, the Keep Lancaster County Beautiful and Great American Cleanup campaigns, donations of trash bags, rubber gloves, cases of water and a banner were also available.
PRIDE day projects ranged from the mulching of flowerbeds, to picking up sticks and trash, to planting trees and flowers, and aquatic plants. This year, barley bails were installed in the waters of Lake Placida, which, when they decompose, will work as a natural algae suppressant. Indoor projects were offered for those who were interested in helping in a less physical way. These indoor projects supported the Caitlin’s Smiles Foundation, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing children with chronic or life threatening illnesses smiles and laughter. They achieve this by sending art kits and craft projects to these children to promote heightened feelings of self worth.
Many find that PRIDE Day offers the opportunity to not only help one’s community but to also meet and network people with whom they may never have had contact with in another setting.
“Civil service projects bring people together with similar desires to help their community. I was able to meet a lot of people who I never would have met otherwise. Overall, it was a meaningful and worthwhile experience,” said Jessica Royal ’18.