Nearly 300 University of Southern Maine (USM) students, faculty and staff donated 1,200 hours of community service at the 9th annual Husky Day of Service on Friday, April 13.
USM volunteers took part in projects at more than 20 organizations in the Greater Portland and Lewiston-Auburn areas, including the American Red Cross, Preble Street, Lots to Gardens, the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland and the Maine Veterans Home, among several others.
Staff and faculty volunteers could also be found along Portland’s Back Cove Trail, where, at low-tide, they removed several bags’ worth of waste from the shoreline.
At the Portland Branch of the YMCA of Southern Maine, 40 students worked painting bookshelves and other common area items, as well as the walls of the center’s Men’s Dormitory, which at any given time houses 88 men coming out of homelessness.
USM students Olivia Mayo and Paul Leger, painting hallways on the YMCA’s fifth floor, spoke to the importance of community service.
“If we weren’t doing this right now, they’d be paying for it,” said Mayo, a junior Media Studies student from Minot, Maine. “We don’t have class, so we might as well be doing something good.”
Leger, who hails from Montreal, agreed, adding how proud he is to attend a community-engaged University.
“(Husky Day of Service) makes the University easier to blend in the community,” said the sophomore double majoring in USM's School of Business. “Once we do that, it’s easier for people to give back to the University … to just keep on growing that relationship.”
“We want to be proud of Portland, our city, and our school,” he said.
YMCA of Southern Maine Chief Executive Officer Helen L. Breña said she and the organization look forward to hosting the Huskies for the Day of Service each year.
“We are so appreciative of the time and effort these students invest in our community and at our Y,” she said. “Our mission is to build stronger individuals, families, and communities by bringing people from diverse backgrounds together and supporting their well-being. USM’s day of service really exemplifies this spirit of togetherness.”
This year’s volunteer totals surpass those from last year’s Husky Day of Service. In 2017, 292 volunteers from USM donated 876 hours of service with 21 local organizations.
- American Red Cross
- Animal Refuge League
- Back Cove Clean-Up
- Boys & Girls Club
- Center for Grieving Children
- Cultivating Community
- Garbage to Garden
- Greater Portland Landmarks
- Maine Children's Museum
- Maine Veterans Home
- Partners for World Health
- Peabody Center
- Portland Gear Hub
- Portland Housing Authority
- Portland Trails
- Preble Street
- Ruth's 3 Rs
- Space Gallery
- Spring Point Ledge Light Trust
- Strive U
- Wayside Kitchen