UMass Student Volunteers to Blanket Pioneer Valley Sept. 28 for Mass Impact Day of Service

Hundreds of students to join alumni, faculty and staff in community service

AMHERST, Mass. – Hundreds of UMass Amherst students will join university alumni, faculty and staff to volunteer for nearly 40 community service initiatives throughout the Pioneer Valley for the second annual Mass Impact Day of Service on Saturday, Sept. 28.

The program will send groups of volunteers to a dozen towns throughout the valley to assist local efforts such as cleanup and beautification in Northampton and Pelham, community farming and gardening in Springfield and Greenfield, visiting with residents of The Arbors Assisted Living Residential Community in Amherst, and wrapping birthday gifts for Birthday Wishes, Inc., in South Hadley that will be distributed to homeless children. Alumni are planning similar volunteer efforts in Florence and Lawrence, Mass., Nashua, N.H., Chicago, Ill., and Raleigh, N.C.

A complete list of community organizations participating and links to volunteer registration can be found at http://tinyurl.com/2013MassImpact. UMass Amherst alumni interested in taking part in one of the projects around the country can find more information at http://tinyurl.com/2013MassImpactAlumni.

“This event is a wonderful opportunity for our students to give back to the communities they call home during the academic year,” says Enku Gelaye, interim vice chancellor for student affairs and campus life. “We are proud that so many members of the UMass family are participating in projects big and small that mean so much to area residents. To see such growth following the success of last year’s inaugural Mass Impact Day of Service is a reflection of the dedication of the student body to being a good neighbor, and the commitment of the university to maintaining its strong community relationships.”

Following the 9 a.m. check-in on the campus’ Haigis Mall, the volunteers will be transported to sites in Amherst, Hadley, Greenfield, Springfield, South Hadley, Pelham, South Deerfield, Leeds, Northampton, Florence, Turners Falls and Hatfield. They will work at these sites under local supervision from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., at which time they will return to campus for lunch and a wrap-up discussion of their experiences.

More than 275 student volunteers have already pre-registered for the event, nearly triple the total number of participants in the 2012 Mass Impact Day of Service, and members of 22 different UMass campus organizations have committed to volunteer this year. Registration is continuing this week.

The Mass Impact Day of Service is a partnership between the university and the Town of Amherst, and is coordinated by the UMass Amherst division of Student Affairs and Campus Life, Office of External Relations, Student Government Association and UMass Amherst Alumni Association. Financial support is provided by Alden Credit Union with materials support from Cowls Building Supply of North Amherst.

Contact:  Erin Donnally Drake, 413/545-5176, donnally@umass.edu