Kate Newman captures the scene at the 14th Annual Humanics in Action Day.
Many Springfield residents are still feeling the repercussions of the summer tornado that struck the city and caused massive amounts of damage. Director of Student Volunteer Programs Charlene Elvers found herself in an unexpected situation for Humanics in Action Day due to the natural disaster.
Elvers’ timeline for Humanics in Action Day was interrupted when the tornado struck on June 1, which is the day she was preparing to mail letters and project request forms to the community.
Due to the chaos and relief efforts following the tornado, Elvers waited to send any material to the community until a month later, which set back the process.
Many sites were too busy to put together any projects due to being overwhelmed by the tornado relief efforts. Also, by the time Humanics in Action Day rolled around, most of the tornado cleanup had already been completed or was beyond the capabilities of groups from Springfield College.
A few tornado-related projects remained, many of which were on Island Pond Road and involved removing large debris.
In all, Elvers pulled together 95 sites for the approximately 1,900 students who were registered to participate in this year’s event.
This was the first year the event was held on a Tuesday (Sept. 27), as it is usually held on a Thursday.
Elvers said that she did not want to conflict with Rosh Hashanah, which began at sunset on Wednesday, Sept. 28.
Goodwill also brought a truck that students and faculty filled with clothes to donate.
Humanics in Action Day, now in its 14th year, is a growing tradition at Springfield College.
Many college clubs volunteer during Humanics in Action Day every year.
“Humanics in Action Day is a college-wide kickoff to a year of service,” Elvers said. “It’s our official first event.”
It originally began when Dr. Peter Polito, the chairperson of the department of mathematics, physics and computer science, was selected as the Distinguished Professor of Humanics for 1998-1999.
Every year, one faculty member is chosen for this honor and responsible for completing a project that demonstrates the Humanics philosophy.
Polito enlisted the help of NSO leaders and met with representatives from the United Way since his proposed day for Humanics in Action Day coincided with the United Way’s Day of Caring.
On Sept. 10, 1998, the first Humanics in Action Day was held. Polito’s original logo for the event, which represents people holding hands to form an “H” for Humanics in the center, still remains. The name “Humanics in Action Day” was taken from Polito’s theme for the year, Humanics Alive.
According to Elvers, this year marked Elvers’ twelfth year of organizing the annual “big-splash event” that allows students and faculty to give back to the community for a few hours.
“I think it’s important as a way to renew our connections with the community every year,” Elvers said.
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