Dyonis Miller–News Co-Editor
Students and faculty walking past the Orange Carpet (OC) on Friday, Sept. 28, would have been audience to a large gathering of students being equipped with trowels, trash bags and paint cans. The idea behind this was an event called Care 4 Cornell, a way for students to give back to the Cornell campus, led by Justin Gohdes, Assistant Director of Residence Life, as well as by Student Senate, various Greek organizations and the Cornell Student Philanthropy initiative. The overarching goal was to distribute students throughout various parts of the campus to provide basic maintenance work where needed. As Gohdes said, “Care 4 Cornell started with NRHH [National Residence Hall Honorary]. One of their pillars is service. Last year they did a campus cleanup, and they wanted to expand it to a campus-wide involvement. As their advisor, I helped spearhead it, but it was really a collaborative effort.”
After the crowd of students posed for a memorable picture on the OC, they were sorted into groups and handed various work materials. Then they were assigned to a zone within the campus where they would perform such jobs as weeding, doing paint touch-ups to signs and hydrants and even working in the archives. “It turned out incredibly well,” Gohdes said. “Over 80 people came and were involved at the time. People in the archives even got to handle a letter to the college from Martin Luther King Jr.”
The event itself lasted four hours, as implied by the name, and students were consistently kept busy with the large amount of tasks that needed work throughout the campus. Those who finished their current assignment had the option of going back to the Commons to be assigned something new or lending a helping hand to a nearby group. The overall mission of the assignment, aside from beautifying the campus, was to get students involved to the point where they would choose the option of caring for the college each and every day. As Gohdes explained, “It really provided an opportunity for students to see Cornell in a different light and to take ownership of the campus. I think that also has reverberative effects with it being the weekend before Homecoming when the alumni come back to see the campus.”
At the end of the day, students were able to truly measure just how much work is needed to run and maintain even a small campus like Cornell. With the opportunities to archive and work on different residence halls, this also provided students the chance to meet one another and grow closer together as a community. The idea of maintaining the campus so that others may enjoy it is one of the central ideas behind this project. As far as future activities, Gohdes has implied that since this is in the hands of the students, organizations are free to collaborate and make another large group effort anytime they like: “While Care 4 Cornell was four hours for Cornell one afternoon, it’s something we should do all the time. Caring for Cornell gives back in more ways than we can realize.”
Released in print on October 3, 2012.