UMass Dartmouth students honor 9/11 with day of service

Sep 9, 2018

While many UMass Dartmouth students were infants when the events of September 11, 2001 unfolded, more than 300 of them spent September 9 giving back to honor those who lost their lives on that day.

The students were participating in UMass Dartmouth’s 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance. Although the official national day of service is held on the anniversary of the attacks, students gathered at the YMCA’s Sharing the Harvest Community Farm on Sunday to pitch in and help out a little early.

“We decided to volunteer at the farm because it’s such a great project,” noted Deirdre Healy, the Director of Community Service and Partnerships at UMass Dartmouth’s Leduc Center for Civic Engagement.

“And it’s the perfect time of the year for the farm too,” added Angie Green, who works at the center through the AmeriCorps VISTA program.

Volunteers, arriving in two one-and-a-half-hour shifts, spent most of their time harvesting squash from the farm and preparing for the fall growing season by assisting farm staff in removing plastic used to protect summer produce from the ground.

It’s the eighth year students have helped out at the farm, said Leduc Center Director and UMass Dartmouth Assistant Vice Chancellor for Civic Engagement Matt Roy.

More than 2,000 students in total have participated in the day of service at the farm, and that number is growing -- the university now has its own drop-in volunteer hours on Thursdays, with bus transportation provided from the campus to the Gulf Road location.

As YMCA staff spends time with students to explain how to pick the produce, and the importance of their work, it’s grown into a major partnership.

“This is one of the most important places for us,” Roy said. “When we do community services with students we need good partners in order to make sure it becomes a good learning experience for the students.”  

It was not just college students pitching in either. A group of high school students participating in a youth leadership program were also on hand to lead students through the process and learn from their peers.

“I really like how it feels great to help out and give back to your community,” said Dulce Cisneros, a junior at New Bedford High School.