Over 400 students and faculty volunteered for the second annual 9/11 National Day of Service this past Saturday, Sept. 9.
The Volunteer Resource Center coordinated the event in the Student Center Ballrooms with the assistance of AmeriCorps, Bonner Leadership Program, Residence Life at Montclair State, The Center of Community Engagement, The Center of Student Involvement, Red Hawk News, Greek Life, MSU Admissions, University facilities, Parking Services, Shop Rite and many other supermarkets.
John Delate, Executive Director of Residence Life, was near New York City when the attacks happened 16 years ago.
“I was working at an institution north of New York City so it hit very close to home for all of us,” Delate said. “We closed the institution [that day] and honored the fallen. A decade plus later, this national day of service is a wonderful way to commemorate that day and instead of thinking of it as a defeat, it is something very positive to serve others and our community.”
Guest speaker Adbul-Alim Mubarak-Rowe, Communications Director of the New Jersey Chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), spoke amongst the volunteers in the Student Center ballrooms and explained what CAIR’s mission is.
“CAIR is a nation-wide civil rights organization,” Mubarak-Rowe said. “What we are empowered to do is to enhance the understanding of Islam, fight for justice, and to empower American-Muslims. Beyond that, we are an organization that volunteers our work and services to help humanity, America and the world.”
Mubarak-Rowe had also been an editor, cameraman and producer at CNN New York for over 30 years.
“You young people, I love you young people, have a big job,” Mubarak-Row said. “You are a part of a growing movement that puts their services and hearts to work to make life better for the least fortunate. The country and New Jersey appreciates you.”
On campus, there were four events: blanket making, cards for soldiers, care package making for homeless veterans and assisting the Red Hawk Pantry.
There were 50 Montclair State drawstring bags full of hygiene products and food items such as pasta, oatmeal and apple sauce to help out homeless veterans. More were in grocery bags for the general homeless.
Off campus, there were 15 volunteer events at MedShare Secaucus, Branch Brook Park, Habitat for Humanity, Montclair Community Farms, Cerebral Palsy for North Jersey, West Essex YMCA, Dress for Success Jersey City, Supermarket Drive Collection, Anderson Park Montclair, BrookDale Park in Bloomfield, Morris Canal Park in Clifton, Buddies of NJ, NJ Veterans Home in Paramus, Recreation Deptartment in Little Falls and the Community FoodBank in Hillside. Students of all grades came out to volunteer. Some students had expressed how meaningful it was to give back to the community at the NJ Veterans Home.
“I’ve always wanted to volunteer,” said 18-year-old undeclared freshman Nate Longhorn. “I think its really cool that the community is still helping out after such a while. People still don’t realize how [9/11] is still a big issue.”
“I’m really excited to be here to help others and make them feel good about themselves,” said Rene Sehiavo, a senior majoring in gender, sexuality, and women studies who also volunteered at the NJ Veterans Home in Paramus. “I’m really excited to spend time with them.”
As the event came to an end, volunteers returned to Montclair Sate University from their off-campus service projects.
“We had a really fun day at the Veterans Home because we all got to do different things and see different aspects of the home,” said Kristen Milburn, a sophomore majoring in English.