Students cleaning up litter

What a Difference a Day Makes: Bengals Dare to Care Draws Hundreds to Community Service

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Hundreds of Buffalo State faculty, staff, and students will spend the morning of Saturday, September 21, serving the community during Bengals Dare to Care Day.

Buffalo State’s annual service day brings together members of the campus community to assist with service projects like neighborhood beautification, garden planting and maintenance, and painting. The event runs from 8:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and lunch is provided afterward.

Transportation will be provided to the various work sites. Advance registration is required.

The event has grown since President Katherine Conway-Turner began her tenure at Buffalo State five years ago, said Laura Hill Rao, director of Civic and Community Engagement.

This year, more than 40 sites are being considered for volunteer opportunities, Rao said. Seventy-five site coordinators—students, faculty, and staff—will help with the logistics of getting volunteers to their locations, which will be determined on the day of the event. After the work is done, site coordinators will lead discussions with the volunteers on why service is important.

Last year, the event drew 800 volunteers, and Rao said she expects about the same this year. 

Conway-Turner said the event is a way for Buffalo State to show its commitment to the local community.

“Dare to Care Day is an opportunity for the entire Buffalo State College community to show our commitment to the City of Buffalo,” she said. “Every year, as a college, we provide over 500,000 hours of community service to organizations that address the needs of individuals and families in Western New York. On Saturday, we will come together in orange, gather our forces, and work to assist our Buffalo community as one.”

“We see this event as an introductory opportunity for students to get connected to Buffalo State’s urban-engaged mission in a fun and inviting way,” Rao said. “Because it’s easy for students to get involved, we want them to find community service to be rewarding and we hope that this will be the first step in a long commitment of living as active citizens while they are here at Buffalo State and beyond.”

The college’s partners in the community also value the opportunity to have student assistance with a variety of projects. 

“You’ll see many community garden projects, and that has to do with the appropriate timing of the event, which aligns with the need for community gardens to wrap up the growing season and prepare for winter,” Rao said. “Other projects allow organizations to complete activities that would not otherwise be able to be accomplished with limited staff and resources.”

The event also offers students the opportunity to meet other students, and a chance to get to know the community better, Rao said.

“We hope that they may continue volunteering with the partner, or find another way to support our community while they are students, and even after they graduate,” she said.