Student volunteers at Upstate Cerebral Palsy organize supplies for games.
Ninety-five students arrived at the Fillius Event Barn to begin their day of volunteering on Saturday, Sept. 10. 
Make A Difference Day, organized by Hamilton Association for Volunteering, Outreach and Charity (HAVOC), is an annual day of service for students wanting to make a difference in the local community.  This year, HAVOC sent students to seven different sites, including the Chenango Canal, Kirkland Town Park, Upstate Cerebral Palsy (Utica Campus), Stone Presbyterian Church, Dunham Public Library, Central New York Veterans Outreach, and Utica Children’s Museum.

Co-director of HAVOC, Irena Chen ’25, remarked that “the goal of Make A Difference Day is really to encourage students to get off-campus and gain a deeper understanding of our surrounding community.  It also acts as a bonding experience for first year students.” 

MADD '22 Zander Harpel '23
Zander Harpel '23 helps unload furniture at Central New York Veterans' Outreach. Photo: Sophie Christensen '23

Chen also acknowledged all the behind the scenes work that goes into preparing for Make A Difference Day.  First, the HAVOC leaders contacted 50 sites, half of which responded.  The next step in the planning process was ordering t-shirts and food, coordinating transportation, and sending out sign-up sheets for volunteers.

Hamilton volunteers at Upstate Cerebral Palsy set up field day games and a snow-cone machine for the children there. Jason Porter ’26 noted that the best part of the experience was interacting with the children. “They were extremely energetic and very excited to engage in conversation and play,” he said. “At the end of our volunteer session we reflected on our experiences and bonded over the joy that the children brought into our day.”

Hamilton Serves

In and out of class, on campus and off, students get involved in advocating for a better world.

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