You won’t find it in the dictionary. Your friends from home won’t know what it is. Yet, it embodies Springfield College. It is Humanics in Action Day.
While the campus shuts down, faculty, staff, and students do not. As the sun rises, students emerge from their dorms with water bottles in hand. The early mornings, the spread of bagels and hot coffee, the hundreds of bodies scurrying about trying to find the group of their peers that they’ll be sharing this experience with… For many this is nothing new – it’s tradition.
Started in 1998 by Professor Peter Polito, Humanics in Action Day brings the campus to the community. Students split up into groups, each one with their own task. For a few hours students clean, paint, and even read to kids all in an effort to help better their community.
Joseph Guarino, a senior sports biology major and aspiring Physician , experienced his first Humanics in Action Day with his NSO (New Student Orientation) Group, a common requirement for first-year students.
As Guarino woke up he dragged himself out of bed, made his way to the field, and with his NSO group came upon an abandoned house. The house was covered with weeds. Guarino and his group worked diligently, getting the plot of land ready for fresh vegetables for the upcoming spring season. One of many projects that took place that day.
“I didn’t want to be there at first,” Guarino admits, a feeling many students share. It’s early – and for many, labor is not on their agendas. However, after spending hours working on various tasks, the realization that they make a difference hits home. “What I enjoyed wasn’t the mowing of the grass, it wasn’t the preparing of the land… it was knowing that it was going towards a good cause.”
Humanics in Action Day isn’t a requirement. There are no grades, no consequences, not even hurt feelings… but most students go. They go to feel what Guarino felt, and still feels with every Humanics in Action Day he attends. Springfield is a school that gives back, not just during this one day, but continuously throughout the year. With over 120,000 hours of combined annual community service… this much is obvious.
“I enjoy it even more now, but still for the same reasons” says Guarino. As long as I am helping the people in need that’s all that matters to me.”
Humanics in Action Day doesn’t just foster a relationship with the outside community, but with its own as well.
Chelsea Ammerman, a senior therapeutic recreation major, transferred to Springfield College last year. While, she was drawn to the school for her major, and its strong affiliation with the YMCA, community service is nothing new for Ammerman.
Her first Humanics in Action Day was done with her NSO group, and she plans to have her last one be with the same group of people she now considers close friends.
“I had a great time being with the T-squad again. I think it is really important that they (the school) do that with first-year students and Transfer students,” Ammerman says. “I’m really excited to do it again… I’m going back with T-squad, but this year as a leader.”
“I think it’s unique that we carry the idea of Humanics all throughout the year. We carry that idea of Humanics as one of the backbones of Springfield,” says Ammerman. “It’s not just the day’s philosophy – it’s the school’s philosophy.”