On Saturday, October 27, about 450 college students converged on locations throughout Allegany County, participating in the Make a Difference Day, the largest national community service day in America. Alongside students from Alfred State College and Alfred University, 350 Houghton College students united under the guidance of Leadership Allegany in order to impact the community through this first annual Celebrate Service, Celebrate Allegany day of service.
Students and other locals united while wielding rakes, paintbrushes, rags, and hands eager to serve. These volunteers exhibited the scholar-servant attitude that Houghton strives to produce as they met needs presented by individuals, nonprofits, and churches at over 65 locations around the county.
Thanks to the high student turnout for Make a Difference Day, a vast amount of work was able to be completed within a five- hour time frame. A sense of unity was proliferated as students served the community throughout Allegany County, pausing from their work to spend lunchtime conversing with the people for and with whom they were laboring.
“It was especially gratifying to see our students working alongside community members to serve our neighbors in Allegany County,” reflected Phyllis Gaerte, director of community relations at Houghton College. “In a number of communities, town administrators not only submitted projects, but they and other residents worked with the students. It reminded me of why Allegany County is such a great place to live.”
Gaerte’s note of thanks was echoed by Houghton College presidnt, Dr. Shirley Mullen. “I am grateful to the many Houghton students who spent last Saturday in community service, alongside others around the nation,” stated President Mullen. “What makes me even more pleased is that, for most of these students, service is already becoming a pattern of their lives and not simply a once-a-year event.”