In January, the Dartmouth community announced an ambitious goal: to make an impact by contributing 250,000 hours of community service around the world. Last Tuesday, The Call to Serve initiative surpassed 125,000 recorded service hours, placing it solidly on track to reach its year-long target.
While the goal is no small undertaking, Vice President for Alumni Relations Cheryl Bascomb ’82 is confident that the community can meet it. “Dartmouth has a longstanding legacy of public service,” she says. “The Call to Serve is shining a spotlight on all the service our community members already do—as well as the many additional projects Dartmouth students, faculty, alumni, staff and families are doing in honor of our 250th. Our community seems excited about getting involved.”
Near and Far
A flurry of activity in April and May helped the initiative hit its stride. Greek letter organizations contributed 400 hours of service. A Tuck Veterans Run logged 354 hours. A blood drive on campus brought in 40 hours. And students with the Dartmouth Center for Social Impact contributed well over 12,000 hours to the cause.
“Through their service with the Dartmouth Center for Social Impact, Dartmouth students are able to hone their skills to make an impact now and prepare to be global community leaders later,” says Tracy Dustin-Eichler, the center’s director. “These students care deeply about finding effective solutions to challenges in our communities.”
Indeed, the 138,304 hours logged so far on The Call to Serve site paint a picture of a highly engaged student body, with current students having contributed 57 percent of recorded time.
As evidenced by alumni, who have logged 27 percent of all hours, a passion for service doesn’t stop at graduation. On May 4, the Alumni Council’s Alumni Day of Service recorded 54 service projects—its highest number ever. Alumni Council president-elect Rachel Bogardus Drew ’98 says the annual event provided “opportunities around the world for alumni to engage with each other and give back to their communities.”
The Call to Serve site also tracks volunteers’ global reach. Dartmouth community members have contributed time in 43 of 50 U.S. states, and in countries from Australia to Zimbabwe. Projects in farther-flung locales—such as teaching doctors in Bhutan or hiking Kilimanjaro to fund blood cancer research—reflect the unique ways Dartmouth community members are making a difference.
Reuniting Through Service
Back on Campus this week, alumni and their families will contribute to the initiative while at Reunions. Members of nine classes spanning 1973 to 2014 will unite on the Green Saturday to build bog bridges and pack backpacks for local school children.
During a Presidential Salute in Moore Theater this morning, Bascomb announced the first of two Service Challenge prizes recognizing the Reunion classes with the most hours logged. (The winner of the second challenge will be announced June 15). With nearly 3,000 hours, the Class of 1969 took the prize. “We were the last graduating class under President John Sloan Dickey, who made it clear to all of us that ‘The world’s troubles are your troubles,’” says outgoing Class of 1969 President John Mathias. “Individually and collectively, our class has taken this charge seriously for the past 50 years.”