Raking leaves, picking up trash, donating food--all things students at Hiram College are doing today for their campus wide service day.
“Being out here feels really great. It’s really nice to know we’re making a difference in our college community,” Alina Mille, a student and soccer player for Hiram College, said.
The students called it their ‘Sugar Day,' a special nod to an old tradition that started 160 years ago.
“In the late 1800s, early 1900s, Hiram college had Sugar Day where students and faculty alike would go down to a local farm and tap the maple trees for syrup,” explained Dr. Lori Varlotta, President of Hiram College. She continued, “It was a service day and it was a really exciting day because they didn’t know what day of the semester it was going to be.”
Instead of maple syrup, students prepared meals full of rice, dried veggies and seasoning for folks in need.
Christian Roberts, 20, and the Student Senate President at Hiram College, was one of the brains behind reviving the tradition this year.
She said, “There’s a great sense of community here, this idea of community service, really making it big, that’s the reason why we thought of it.”
So she and her fellow students raised $10,000 to provide local residents with 40,000 meals.
Those meals will be distributed to churches and food pantries in the area.
“We’re very grateful, said Liz Meeker from Mantua Center Christian Church. “Right now, we’re servicing 40 kids which is about 15 families, so they will last a while for those families.”
As a sophomore, Christian told me she hopes this new version from the old tradition will carry on for many years to come.
“I think the fire is catching on throughout the nation on this pack shack idea, to help feed thousands and thousands of families that can’t do it for themselves, but by the end of this whole journey they’ll really have a sense of community and service.”
The last time the campus celebrated their actual ‘Sugar Day’ was back in 1975. In honor of the maple syrup tradition from the old days, the students planted a maple tree in front of the student union earlier today.