Medical Center Lends a Hand at Local Projects for Columbia University’s Day of Service

Students from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine volunteer at Morningside Park in Manhattan for the university's 22nd annual day of service.
Students from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine volunteer at Morningside Park in Manhattan for the University's 22nd annual day of service on March 30, 2019. (CUIMC)

Students and employees from CUIMC were among about 300 participants from Columbia University who volunteered on Saturday for the University’s 22nd annual day of service.

The event, organized by Columbia Community Outreach, unites students, faculty, staff, and alumni who go to designated locations throughout New York City to lend a helping hand.

Volunteers performed a range of activities. Their work included beautifying parks, preparing community gardens, spending time with children, and helping out at health care facilities and an organization that helps homeless people, said Sophie Schaal, an event co-organizer and undergraduate student at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.

More than a dozen students from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine participated, donning gardening gloves instead of exam gloves to pull weeds, remove debris, and re-mulch areas at Morningside Park.

“It was a beautiful day outside, perfect weather for an outdoor activity such as that,” said Alyssa Patterson, a CDM student who was her group’s co-leader. “It was really fulfilling to see the transformation of the park from when we got out there to when we finished.”

A group from the medical center’s Office of Communications pitched in at the CAUSA Festival Community Garden in East New York, Brooklyn. Staff members used shovels to till several garden beds to prepare them for cultivation. In the summer, the garden will produce eggplant, green peppers, tomatoes, string beans, and other vegetables, along with cherries, peaches, and other fruits.