Rochester Institute of Technology alumni will reconnect this weekend for a second year of community service projects hosted in communities around the globe.
RIT Global Day of Service, previously called RIT Cares, is an effort that was initiated by the RIT Alumni Association as a way to reconnect alumni across a variety of chapters who are eager to make a difference through a day of volunteer work in their local neighborhoods.
The events, which will take place on Sept. 17, will vary from mission work to landscaping and will include opportunities to work in food distribution, volunteer in orphanages, clean city parks and work with homeless animals.
Kelly Redder, assistant vice president of RIT for Life and director of the RIT Alumni House, is one of the key organizers of the day. Redder, who oversaw the success in 2015, said that there are twice as many location sites this year as last year.
Volunteer opportunities have been organized in 21 different regions, with 28 individually registered sites. Three activities will be held in Rochester, and both alumni and current students are encouraged to register and attend.
“This year we have added an additional site in Rochester because of the high turnout last year,” said Redder.
In addition to the three sites in Rochester, projects will take place domestically in Atlanta, Buffalo, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seattle, South Florida, and Washington, D.C.
Jeffrey Creagh ’11,’13 (finance, MBA) is the organizer of the Charlotte alumni chapter, which is scheduled to volunteer with Second Harvest Food Bank.
Creagh said that he and his wife, Randalle Smaldone ’11 (marketing), had the opportunity to volunteer with Second Harvest earlier in the year and that he was excited to go back and continue to make a difference in his district, this time with the help of fellow RIT graduates.
“I think that when you volunteer with a food bank, you leave your shift with the understanding that there is always so much more that needs to be done,” said Creagh. “I think that that will be the biggest takeaway from this experience.”
Robert Watson ’12 (information technology), a chapter leader in Washington who has worked to organize the event in Seattle, said that he too has taken notice of the widespread need in his community and was inspired to volunteer.
“You can see the poverty just by walking through this city,” said Watson, who will be volunteering with his boyfriend, who is also an RIT graduate. “Hearing about the homelessness in Seattle motivated me to get involved with food banks, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to join with other RIT alumni to make a difference.”
Beyond the many opportunities to volunteer within the U.S. borders, international sites have been confirmed in Croatia, Ecuador, Dubai, Mumbai and Peru.
Marina Drmač, the community organizer for RIT Croatia alumni chapters, said that following the success of RIT Cares, Croatia will be offering an additional site and opportunity to volunteer.
“This year we will have activities in both Zagreb and Split,” said Drmač. “Our project in Split will involve working to collect long-lasting goods for a local homeless shelter. In Zagreb, we will be working with children in an orphanage. We have some fun activities planned for the kids and it should be a really great day.”
Drmač went on to say that RIT Croatia has always aimed to strengthen relations with alumni through promoting volunteer work.
“At RIT Croatia, we have a strong volunteering culture. Students learn the importance of volunteering throughout their college years as they are involved in many different service projects,” said Drmač. “I first volunteered when I was a freshman in Dubrovnik, and I have continued to do so ever since.”
Over the course of the week, alumni across the globe will continue to register to volunteer in their communities. Redder said that she expects the number of registered volunteers to spike in the days leading up to the event.
“It’s likely that the day will connect between 300 and 400 members of the RIT community to service projects in their communities,” said Redder. “We hope that this program inspires alumni to continue to support these organizations throughout the year. There’s only room for growth.”
For more information or to register for the event, go to the RIT Global Day of Service website.