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Community Day helps spruce up neighborhoods

Joel Gough, a junior industrial design major, rides the bus to his work assignment. Photo: Nancy J. Parisi


Published April 17, 2014

Saturday was one of the first truly nice weekend days of the spring, and several hundred UB students and volunteers enjoyed the sunshine and warm weather while helping in neighborhoods across Buffalo.

The UB volunteers took part in Community Day on April 12, a service event sponsored by UB’s Office of Community Relations with the help of neighborhood block clubs and organizations such as The Great American Cleanup-Keep Western New York Beautiful.

Members of UB’s Retired Employee Volunteers-University Program, or REV-UP, ran the morning registration and handed out T-shirts and supplies. This is the second year REV-UP has assisted in UB Community Day.

Students met for breakfast in Allen Hall and then were bused to locations around the city, including the University District near the South Campus, the Fruit Belt neighborhood near the Downtown Campus and the East and West sides.

Nicole Fishkind (foreground), a senior English literature major, and Morgan Dressler, a junior pre-med major, shovel leaves along Minnesota Avenue. Photo: Nancy J. Parisi

“It is always great to bring our students out to the community to work hand-in-hand with residents to improve the neighborhoods,” said Linwood Roberts of UB’s community relations office. “Students have the chance to meet residents and other students, and have a great impact on the neighborhoods with their enthusiasm and collaborative efforts.”

In the University District, volunteers prepped flower beds along a sizable stretch of Main Street and also helped spruce up community gardens throughout the neighborhood. Another group continued the ongoing efforts to clean up and restore the historic Uptown Theatre on Bailey Avenue.

“It’s a nice day out, and we feel good helping out in the community,” senior Nicole Fishkind said as she worked on Minnesota Avenue with junior Morgan Dressler and senior Ariel Namoca. “We’ve been picking up trash and raking leaves out of the median here. We’ve bagged a ton of leaves,” Dressler said. “And we’re having fun. I just met Nicole and Ariel today, so we’re also making some friends. A couple came by and rolled down their windows and said thank you. That was really nice.”

A volunteer inside a Habitat for Humanity house at 74 Alexander Place off East Ferry Street on the East Side of Buffalo. Photo: Nancy J. Parisi

Longtime Minnesota Avenue resident and block club member Karen Robinson, who was out helping the student volunteers, said events like Community Day really make a difference in the neighborhood. “I think it is uplifting for people. A lot of people will stop and say thank you. I’m grateful for all the help that we do get from some of the students.”

Meanwhile, over on Main Street, sophomore Kevin Turner helped freshmen Megan Corcoran and Leah Kotas and sophomore Sharon Lin mulch flower beds from Minnesota to near Kenmore Avenue. “We’re working with a couple of volunteers who do this every Saturday morning, so it’s nice to see how they do this all the time. They know a lot of people in the neighborhood and people appreciate what they do,” Turner said.

Lin said a friend of hers encouraged her to participate in Community Day and it’s been a good experience. Besides, she added, “I would probably be sleeping in otherwise.”

Corcoran offered another reason: “It’s the first nice day out and I’d rather be outside.”

UB volunteers will fan out across the region again in a few weeks for UB Pride and Service Day on May 9.