Doing good as an individual is wonderful, but doing good as a group is even more powerful. That’s one of the messages behind the first Dartmouth Alumni Day of Service, to be held in cities across the country on Saturday, May 2.
“There’s a self-reinforcement that happens when people act together,” says Aly Jeddy ’93, chair of the Dartmouth Alumni Council’s new 12-person Alumni Service Committee, which initiated the event. “We wanted to strengthen the underlying Dartmouth connection behind the massive engagement that is already there.”
So far, the message has resonated, and more than a dozen alumni clubs and groups have registered for projects including feeding the hungry in Boston, joining a scavenger hunt to support the United Way in Anchorage, and maintaining a “tool library” in Bloomington, Illinois.
In Los Angeles, Winnie W. Huang ’92 organized activities including lunch, bingo and bedside visits at the VA Medical Center and gardening at the Fisher House, which supports the families of military veterans. The Dartmouth Club of Los Angeles and Dartmouth Uniformed Service Alumni co-sponsored this service event. “When you’re fortunate enough to be a Dartmouth grad, there’s a desire to give back, especially to those who have served our country,” says Huang.
The active day will be the signature event for the Alumni Service Committee, which was formed last year based on feedback from alumni councilors and from the overall alumni body. “We learned that there’s a lot of interest in community service, particularly among our younger alumni, but there wasn’t a system in place to connect alumni to service opportunities,” says Lou Spelios ’95, president of the Dartmouth Alumni Council. “We want this committee and this inaugural event to be a start of that system.”
Spelios, who will be volunteering with the Atlanta Community Food Bank in the Product Rescue Center, stresses the openness of the event. “Everyone is welcome—alumni families, alumni and their significant others,” he says. “This event is by and for alumni and by and for the alumni communities.”
Members of the Class of 1993 may remember that a call to service was a key part of the valedictory address by Aly Jeddy during their Commencement. Jeddy said, “The plight of those in despair will never change if we continue to hide our lack of courage behind the garb of being realists.”
Jeddy, who will be volunteering with his wife and three daughters at Reach Out and Read in New York City, says he still believes in those words. “Helping people all over the world meet their aspirations has to be an important part of what all of us are trying to do,” he says.