Low Plaza

Last Call for Volunteers to Join Columbia Community Outreach Day, April 6

By Lauren Marshall

Last year students worked to clean area parks.

On Saturday, April 6, more than 1,000 Columbia students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the surrounding communities will join together to clean parks, renovate buildings and help out at soup kitchens and after-school programs in Upper Manhattan during the day-long Columbia Community Outreach (CCO), a student-run event. Those interested in participating should register online or in person on Saturday.

The opening ceremony begins at 10:00 a.m. at which time volunteers will convene on the steps of Low Library for the keynote address from Ralph Dickenson, president of United Way of Greater New York. President George Rupp, who had made strengthening ties between the university and the surrounding communities one of the priorities of his presidency, will be honored for his years of support of CCO. After the ceremony, volunteers will receive their assignments and be dispatched to more than 40 projects throughout Upper Manhattan.

Following the increase in volunteerism across the nation, especially after the tragedy of September 11, CCO has expanded the number and diversity of its projects this year, placing a heavier emphasis on supporting community service organizations in Upper Manhattan. In addition to clean ups in eight Upper Manhattan parks, including Morningside, Riverside, Jackie Robinson and St. Nicholas, volunteers will also assist at organizations such as West Harlem Art Fund and Dance Theater of Harlem, Habitat for Humanity and a number of homeless shelters and children's programs in Morningside Heights, Harlem, Washington Heights and Manhattan Valley.

At its inception, CCO was the first day-long mass volunteer effort ever coordinated by students at an urban university. While a number of other universities have followed suit with an occasional outreach day, CCO has sent thousands of volunteers into the community for the past five years and has become an institution at Columbia. Each year the spring event attracts record numbers of Columbia students, faculty, staff, alumni and neighborhood residents who work together to better the community and strengthen community ties in the process.

CCO unites Columbia and the surrounding neighborhoods through community service, and promotes and raises funds for year-round University-sponsored community service projects, such as GED classes, mentoring for public school students and ESL training, among other programs.

Published: Apr 05, 2002
Last modified:Sep 18, 2002

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