NARRATOR: This is a production of Cornell University.
SPEAKER 1: It's going to be a good day in Ithaca.
REPORTER: Cornell's 16th annual student volunteer event, known as Into the Streets Day, took place on Saturday, October 27. Hundreds of participants gathered at Barton Hall on the university campus before heading out to various sites in Ithaca and surrounding communities. Their objective? To make a difference.
SUSAN MURPHY: Into the Streets is a completely student-led initiative out of the public service center. It captures the spirit of our students, who really do see themselves as part of this community. And I think they understand that they're at a university that treasures its connection with the local community, and even the world community. And for some students, this is their one opportunity to actually go do that direct service.
SPEAKER 2: I think it was Jay-Z that said, "men lie, women lie, numbers don't." Today, these numbers show that Cornell students actually do care about the city of Ithaca and the community that's surrounding it.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
LAUREN MARIE WEIN: Well, this is what we call the kickoff ceremony. So we'll have a few speakers come in and get everyone excited. And then one by one, we'll dismiss the groups to the different sites that they will be going to. So it's really just a way of acknowledging not only the agencies that we're working at, but the groups on campus that are willing to put in the time to work there.
This is the biggest year that we've had yet. Last year, we had 1,200. This year, we have about 1,300. And that's up from about 500 in the past.
We know that students want to get involved. We know that they want to go out and volunteer and interact or the constituency and community in Ithaca. They just don't really know where to do it. So our job is to find those agencies, and find those projects, and make it work.
LEONARDO VARGAS-MENDEZ: We have over 60 agencies partnering with this program for today. What it means-- it means a number of different projects that they cannot do during the year have to be done-- from clean-up, to sometimes painting, preparing rooms for kids coming into daycare programs or after-school programs.
SPEAKER 3: We're going to go down to TCAT and clean the buses.
SPEAKER 4: We're going to go down to a park and work on cleaning up a boathouse, I think. Right? I think that's our project. Yeah.
SPEAKER 5: We're supposed to be painting at an elementary school today.
SPEAKER 1: We are going to help mulch and garden at Ellis Hollow. And it should be very exciting, even though the weather is bad. But we'll make the best of it.
SPEAKER 6: Community service rocks! It's sexy, baby.
ERIC CHU: We're at Titus Towers apartment complex. It's a low-cost housing apartment complex. Basically, we're just doing maintenance work, just helping out around-- they're cleaning the kitchen, ovens. We've got people upstairs cleaning windows and bathtubs, and mopping floors, and just doing handywork. And it helps keep the costs low for people here.
JUSTINE SUN: We are at the Beverly J. Martin Elementary School. And we're actually helping out with the mulching project. So we're going to be scraping some of the leaves off and redoing some of the plants here. So we're going to be weeding and just doing a lot of gardening. So it's going to be a great experience-- just applying some of your gardening skills. And we're looking forward to it.
PAT DOLSON: It warms my heart that-- I think of them as kids. I'm afraid it's been too long since I've been to college. But it's great to have the students come and just help where they have no reason to be here, except because of their heart. And to come and help and do this is really just fabulous.
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Since 1992, Into the Streets, a student-led program of the Cornell Public Service Center, has sponsored and planned a fall day of service to provide hundreds of Cornell students the opportunity to volunteer throughout the community.
This years' crowd of 1,300 (up from just 500 two years ago) spent their Saturday at over 60 locations in Ithaca and surrounding communities to contribute their labor to help schools, community centers and nonprofit organizations.