On Sept. 28, the Association for the Development of the Interest in the Indian Subcontinent and the Community Living Center held the fourth annual Gandhi Day of Service in the Rochester community.

The Gandhi Day of Service is a national event, normally scheduled for Oct. 5, but since that day was during UR’s fall break, the event happened one week earlier.

“[Gandhi Day] is held every year around the anniversary of Gandhi’s birth ?Oct. 2 ? to commemorate the ideals and visions of the great Mahatma,” president of ADITI, Sudhir Shenoy said.

Here at UR, the event was organized by Director of Community Programs Marie Lewis, ADITI and the CLC. Lewis, who contacted many of the sites that participated said, “We look for sites that will be beneficial for the students and the community. We try to utilize the students’ skills, talents and enthusiasm to the fullest.”

ADITI and CLC recruited students to participate in the programs.

Fewer than 50 students were in attendance this year, which junior Eli Hale said”was not as well attended as past years.”

“They didn’t even talk about Gandhi and the buses were forty-five minutes late to pick us up,” Hale said, “but the people at the sites were really nice.”

Community service sites range from homeless shelters to a family fun afternoon to the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester.

The event is similar to Wilson Day in that students go to several different sites and simply give their time and energy.

One organizer of Gandhi Day, Cara Taubman said, “There were five different projects this year.

“Most students helped with indoor and outdoor grounds keeping and maintenance, but some students worked with kids,” Taubman said.

Freshman Greg Savage, who worked at the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester this year felt that he “helped provide a better environment for the children of the community to learn and play.”

An RA on the third floor of Gilbert Hall, Kirk Reichelt encouraged his entire hall to participate. “It’s a really good hall program. You come away from your site with a great feeling,” Reichelt said.

Gandhi Day is a national day of service, sponsored by Chevron, Texaco and JP Morgan among others. The event was celebrated across the nation by volunteers and universities such as Ohio State, Princeton University and Emory University.

Neil Ghushe, now a student at UR’s Medical Center brought Gandhi Day to the River Campus four years ago.

The event began with 200 students at the University of Michigan on Oct. 2, 1998, but became a national event the following year, involving twenty universities and 2000 students across the country.

According to the National Gandhi Day of Service Web site, 5,000 volunteers from 40 universities and organizations contributed 25,000 hours of community service in memory of the life and spirit of Mohandas Gandhi last year.

Yunis can be reached at tyunis@campustimes.org.

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