Through its National Gandhi Day of service, the University of Miami’s Butler Center for Service and Leadership offers students the chance to serve their communities.
The annual event took place Oct. 13. Throughout the day, 372 students contributed more than 2,232 total combined volunteer hours, said Madison Guido, a co-chair of Gandhi Day.
But Guido, a senior majoring in biology, said Gandhi Day is about self-discovery as much as it’s about helping others. She said she hopes students will discover new passions as they get involved with community service.
“Being selfless and doing things for people that are maybe less fortunate or don’t have the things we do is eye-opening and allows you to ground yourself,” said Guido. “At the end of the day, they are doing a service for the community and themselves.”
Participants spent the day tackling service projects at 27 different locations, including Vizcaya, Lotus House, Shake-a-leg and Bill Baggs Cape Park. Depending on their assignments, students had the chance to garden, pick up trash and spend time with local community members.
Site leader Divina Chandiramani led UM students in picking up litter at Tropical Park’s football stadium. She said it was a great experience.
“It’s important to give back, and this is a small way to do that,” said Chandiramani, a junior double majoring in marketing and finance. “It feels so impactful to be making a difference; it gives me a different kind of joy.”
Members of the business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, were among those in Chandiramani’s volunteer group. Olivia Dubi was one of these members and said this was her first time participating in Gandhi Day.
“I like how everybody is going to different areas, so we’re really touching all of Miami,” said Dubi, a sophomore who in the global business studies program. “I know how hard the people who organized this day worked to organize it and so I really wanted to be a part of it.”
For Guido, seeing Gandhi Day’s impact on the community validated all the hard work in that went into planning the event.
“Seeing the pictures that our site leaders sent back to us of everyone doing service was really amazing and made me realize this is what it’s all about,” said Guido. “This is why it’s worth it. I’m so happy we were able to pull off the day, it was so great.”