Campus News

Day of Caring becomes Summer of Caring

UB student wearing an "I am UB" shirt holding their hands in the shape of a heart so that the "UB" shows in the center.

By SUE WUETCHER

Published July 16, 2020

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HEADSHOT of James O'Donnell.
“While the impact of the global pandemic has changed the nature of our involvement this year, it does not diminish the importance of being engaged locally. ”
James M. O’Donnell, dean
School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

For years UB volunteers took part in the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County’s annual Day of Caring, working throughout Western New York on various projects in the community. The August event — which was Western New York’s largest community service event — served as the informal launch for UB’s annual Campaign for the Community.

"Summer of Caring" graphic of a July calendar with various activities listed.

This year, the United Way has transformed a Day of Caring into a Summer of Caring, with volunteers from UB and throughout the community signing up for virtual or safe, in-person volunteer opportunities for eight weeks this summer through a volunteer website.

Summer of Caring, which began last week with general welcoming activities, continues for the next seven weeks with prompts and activities from which volunteers can choose. Each week will have a theme that includes prompts and activities that align with the following themes:

  • Week of July 13: Financial well-being.
  • July 20: Environmental awareness.
  • July 27: Summer learning.
  • Aug. 3: Support your neighbor.
  • Aug. 10: Get counted (census).
  • Aug. 17: Get healthy.
  • Aug. 24: Pay it forward.

Two activities that remain constant every week — a homemade face mask drive for local nonprofits and food drives to assist FeedMoreWNY — are designed to directly address immediate needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of taking part in only one volunteer project on a single Day of Caring, Summer of Caring participants can choose from among the weekly activities that most interest them — or design their own and share them on social media using the hashtag #soc2020 — at a time and schedule that is convenient for them.

All Summer of Caring activities have been designed with participants’ health and safety in mind. Volunteers are urged to follow the CDC guidelines and New York State regulations when participating in Summer of Caring.

“University at Buffalo faculty, staff and students have always been active participants in the United Way’s Day of Caring, showing that our university community is very much a part of the larger Buffalo and Western New York community,” says James M. O’Donnell, dean of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and chair of UB’s Campaign for the Community. “This year, interest from the UB community has been so great the Day of Caring has transformed into the Summer of Caring, an eight-week community outreach program.

“As chair of the Summer of Caring Committee, I encourage you to get involved in the wide variety of activities now being planned,” O’Donnell says. “While the impact of the global pandemic has changed the nature of our involvement this year, it does not diminish the importance of being engaged locally.” 

The weekly theme and corresponding activities for Summer of Caring will be announced every Monday via email and are also available on the Summer of Caring website. Scroll to the bottom of the website for instructions on how to sign up for the email.