Students at the University of Miami live in a beautified bubble of palm trees, glass buildings and lush landscaping. However, some students tend to overlook that just outside of the university, there are local communities in need. This year’s National Gandhi Day of Service, on its 20th anniversary, provided students with the opportunity to serve these communities.
“The most impactful part of the day for me was seeing how many people came out to Gandhi Day,” senior criminology and sociology major Veronica Porges, who is also on the E-Board for Ghandi Day, said. “It was really amazing how many people chose to volunteer on a Saturday and spend their time at a local community site helping others.”
Senior neuroscience major Yashmitha Sadasivuni and senior microbiology and immunology major Khyati Pandya wereare co-chairs for the service day and have been planning the event since the spring, when they were assigned their current positions.
“I think it’s important for everyone to have community service and be able to give back to the community that we live in,” Pandya said. “This is the first step, especially for freshmen, to get involved in community service.”
While a majority of the volunteers are underclassmen, Gandhi Day is open to all grades, Pandya said. Participants were given the opportunity to request their top three service opportunities on the application form.
“It’s really cool to see all of the different organizations that have a different purpose come together and help out our community of Miami,” Pandya said. “It’s really nice to see that and it’s really rewarding.”
The volunteer experience took place on Oct. 1 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students participated in a multitude of activities including: beach cleanups, menstrual product packings, food banks and garden beautification projects.
“You need to step out of your comfort zone,” Sadasivuni said. “It isn’t until you go with a group of other people like you, when you go out there and you do something to actually help somebody, that you learn more about the world you live in.”