September 21, 2017
The University of New England held its annual Day of Service on Saturday, September 23. Hundreds of UNE community members, including students, faculty, staff and alumni, dispersed among 32 volunteer sites throughout the Biddeford-Saco-Kennebunk area to volunteer their time and services. Participants were greeted by UNE President James Herbert as well as Biddeford and Saco mayors, Alan Casavant and Ron Michaud, respectively, at the Biddeford Campus Center before departing for their day of volunteer work.
This year, the UNE Day of Service increased its focus on environmentally sustainable sites, such as farms, agriculture rich areas and nature clean ups – a focus that UNE President James Herbert said is fitting for a university dedicated to promoting the health of the environment as well as the health of people. “UNE is about ‘innovation for a healthier planet,’” said Herbert. “The Day of Service is an opportunity for UNE folks to make meaningful contributions to the wellbeing of our community. We are fortunate to have an abundance of nature trails, beach fronts, parks and working farms in our local area – all of which can benefit from volunteer efforts,” he remarked.
Sam McReynolds, Ph.D., professor and chair in the Department of Society, Culture and Languages, academic coordinator in UNE’s Office of Citizenship and Civic Engagement, and coordinator of the Day of Service, explained that there was “something for everyone” at the event, as it offered a wide variety of responsibilities at the volunteer sites. “For those who may not be ‘nature people,’” he said, “there are many other ways to get involved: painting buildings for non-profit organizations, assembling machinery like lawn mowers and bikes, signing up blood donors for the Red Cross, and assisting the elderly with at-home tasks.”
“This year, our sites are growing, and they cultivate a better understanding of the power of small acts of service. Every volunteer act that stems from this event helps the lives and routines of Biddeford area citizens,” stated McReynolds. “Through the Day of Service, UNE becomes the catalyst for change in Southern Maine.”
This year’s volunteer sites included Wallingford Farm, the Alfred Shaker Museum, Volunteers of America Northern New England, Saco Bay Trails, Bon Appetit Meals Program, City of Biddeford Fire Department and Public Works Department, Saco Parks and Recreation, Heart of Biddeford, Saco Food Pantry, the Red Cross, Biddeford School Department, St. Andre Health Care, the Northern York County YMCA, and York County Community Action Corporation.
To apply, visit www.une.edu/admissions