The Office of Off-Campus Living and Commuting Student Services sponsored its annual Shake-A-Rake program on Saturday, November 15. Hofstra student volunteers traveled around Uniondale and Hempstead to rake 15 lawns for elderly and disabled residents. Students from the Center for Civic Engagement also helped plant 550 tulip bulbs in the neighboring streets around the University.
With more than 300 student volunteers including athletes, members of Greek life, international students, and club leaders, this year’s Shake-A-Rake program was larger than any year before.
“The sun is shining, it’s nice outside, and the whole field hockey team is here. It feels great to give back,” said Janelle Boileau, a senior international business major.
The annual Shake-A-Rake program aims to connect Hofstra University with the surrounding community. Along with the cleanup of neighborhood lawns, student volunteers also helped out in a garden and a community center. The entire men’s baseball team joined together to clean up an acre-and-a-half of land at the John J. Byrne Community Center in Uniondale.
When asked if the day was enjoyable, junior industrial engineering major Christopher Hardardt said “I like raking leaves. It’s just fun to me. Plus, I get to work with a great group of guys.”
The athletics department received a good neighbors award last year for its continuing service.
“These kids are always on time, no matter how early in the morning it is. They put in some great work,” said Senior Sports Information Director Jim Sheehan. The event began at 9:00 a.m. and began to wrap up around 11:00 a.m.
Beautifying the local area is another important part of the day’s engagement. Hofstra University donated 550 tulip bulbs that were planted in certain parts of the Uniondale area. Volunteer groups met up at Capital One Bank to begin their planting activities.
“I feel like we’re really bridging the gap,” explained Mishaina Joseph, a senior global studies, geography, and history major and a fellow at the Center for Civic Engagement. “Hofstra is so well-known for their tulips and we can finally share that with other local areas.”
In less than two hours, each lawn, garden, and community center had been raked completely. Some community members came outside with the students to help. This year’s event was very much a bonding experience for Hofstra and the local area. With Shake-A-Rake’s continued success for the past five years, it is likely that next year’s program will reach an even wider audience.
Written by Jordan Heiden ’17