ORONO, Maine — The Newman’s Own Foundation, in conjunction with college basketball’s America East Conference, has awarded the University of Maine Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism an honorable mention award of $7,500 for its Welcome Weekend Day of Service.
On the Welcome Weekend Day of Service, as many as 1,600 incoming first- and second-year students are invited to do volunteer work with community organizations in surrounding communities. Volunteer activities include painting, light cleaning, trail maintenance and gardening, in addition to tasks specific to participating nonprofit organizations.
The initiative, created last year as an extension of UMaine’s popular Maine Hello Program, helped more than 800 student participants last summer learn about organizations and their missions, and also about community service volunteerism.
The announcement of the award came March 6 at the America East Conference Basketball Championship in Hartford, Conn. The University at Albany-State University of New York’s Third World Impact project received the top grant of $25,000. The Newman Foundation gave out more than $100,000 for service projects during this year’s conference championship.
“The Newman’s Own Foundation Campus Community Service Challenge underscores the commitment and enthusiasm of so many young people to make ours a better world,” Newman’s Own Foundation President Robert Forrester said in a news release. “The spirit of philanthropy and volunteerism is indeed thriving at these institutions. Newman’s Own Foundation is proud to support the work of this year’s Challenge grantees that are making a difference on campus and in the community, inspiring more students to give back.”
America East Commissioner Patrick Nero, a former UMaine athletic director, said students of the America East Conference “exceeded our expectations during this year’s Newman’s Own Foundation Campus Community Service Challenge.
“The work they do in their communities is a testament to the quality of our nine member institutions and their student bodies. Newman’s Own Foundation does a terrific job of promoting community service and volunteerism,” Nero said in a news release.
Lisa Morin, coordinator for the Bodwell Center, says the Day of Service project was so successful in its inaugural year that the center’s Civic Passage Program is now planning small projects specifically for first-year students throughout the 2011 school year.
In 2010, America East and Newman’s Own Foundation recognized the Bodwell Center with a generous grant to support its Black Bear Mentoring Program.