• Dartmouth Community Unites for Year-Long Service Initiative

    Sunday, February 17, 2019
    News Type

Generations of Dartmouth community members have made an impact on the world through their service to others. Now, in honor of the College’s 250th anniversary, a new initiative will unite the community in an effort to inspire acts of service around the world.

The Call to Serve is a year-long initiative to make a positive impact by contributing a total of 250,000 hours of service in 2019. That’s the equivalent of 28.5 years of volunteer time by an individual. Through this collective effort, Dartmouth alumni, faculty, staff, and students, as well as parents and families, can volunteer wherever they are with organizations of their choice.

“Dartmouth has a longstanding history of public service, and we want to honor that as part of our sestercentennial celebration,” says Vice President for Alumni Relations Cheryl Bascomb ’82, co-chair of the 250th committee. “This is a wonderful way for all members of our community to join to forces to share their time and talents to make an impact on our world.”

The initiative, which launched in January, is already resonating with student and alumni groups. In early February, alumni helped restore habitats in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, while later this month the Dartmouth Club of Greater Boston will supply local children with necessities and school supplies. At events throughout the country, alumni will collect new socks for donation to local shelters.

Students, who have a long tradition of service in partnership with local and global agencies, will also play a key role in this initiative. The Center for Social Impact, House Communities, athletic teams, and GLOS organizations frequently offer ways for students to engage in service. 

“The Center for Social Impact is excited for our students to see their impact as part of a larger, Dartmouth-wide community engagement initiative,” says Tracy Dustin-Eichler, the Center’s director. “Dartmouth students look to the alumni as models of who they want to be in the world. The Call to Serve reminds us all of the commitment to community that runs deeply through our alumni body.”

Anyone can contribute by entering their hours and the organization with which they served online. Alumni are encouraged to include their families as part of the effort. 

“I know many fellow alumni who are giving back in such wonderful ways and making real change in the world,” says Bascomb. “Alumni who developed a passion for service as students now carry that ethos forward in their lives. This is the Dartmouth spirit at work.”

Members of the Dartmouth Club of Washington,
D.C. greeted WWII veterans visiting the National
WWII Memorial during last year's Alumni Day
of Service.

Dartmouth alumni organizations around the country will also concentrate their efforts on May 4, the annual Alumni Day of Service. Now in its fifth year, the Alumni Day of Service provides an opportunity for people to work together through service-related activities.

“The Alumni Day of Service can be a useful rallying moment for clubs and affinity groups to engage alumni and give back to their communities,” says Rachel Bogardus Drew ’98, chair of the Alumni Council’s Alumni Service Committee. “We’re excited to see that The Call to Serve now offers another impetus to participate in service activities, which we hope will continue through well beyond 2019.”

Alumni interested in coordinating or registering a project for the Alumni Day of Service can do so through The Call to Serve website, and hours logged on or around May 4 will count toward the 250,000-hour goal. 

“The goal, as always, is to encourage Dartmouth alumni to come together and lead on improving their corner of the world, on the Alumni Day of Service and throughout the year,” says Drew.