Knights Service day participants grouping up to take a photo before heading out to help the Queens community! Photo: Student Life via Instagram

Empowering the Queens Community: Queens College’s Knights Day of Service

6 mins read

Queens College has long valued service, a principle reflected in its motto: ‘‘Discimus ut Serviamus’’— We learn so that we may serve. QC has a unique day that celebrates the values of service called the Knights Day of Service, which took place on March 22nd. 

Founded a year ago, the day sheds light on how giving back to the local Queens community is more than just a volunteer asset, but a rewarding experience that aims to shape communities. 

Arianna Livreri, the associate director of civic engagement, explained that the Knights Day of Service started back in March 2023, “With the goal to give back to the surrounding community and as a way for students, staff, and faculty to serve side by side for a common cause. Faculty, staff, and students are able to connect on a different level outside of the classroom and office, working on projects together to better the community.” 

Knights Day of Service is more than mere routine tasks. Participants can select from four distinct service options: DOROT at Queens CommonPoint, Queens County Farm, Garden of Hope, and the Pomonok Community Center. 

The tasks vary from cleaning, gardening, and helping the elderly. This year there was a partnership between Hillel and Supplies For Success to create school care kits for QC’s Early Childhood Development Center, the Knight’s Table Food Pantry, and the Pomonok Center. Volunteer work performed by peers benefits people of all ages, as they dedicate themselves to tending to tasks that often go unnoticed. 

Livreri pointed out some of the significant challenges to the Knights Day of Service can be attributed to the flexibility of the participants. She explained through an anecdote that, “Sometimes we sign up to paint, but that day the client needs more help with cleaning out shelves and moving boxes.” 

Participants shared their personal highlights of the event, and many expressed the sentiment that Knights Day of Service is more than just a day of giving back. Kelvin Gonzalez and Angelina Aponte recounted their volunteering experiences. 

Aponte was a facilitator for the painting class at CommonPoint Queens, and she expressed that due to her expertise in teaching art classes and working with the elderly during this event was something that she was passionate about. 

“I think that it was a successful event — QC students got to share their creativity with older members of the community, and the participants got to have a nice afternoon activity and make acquaintance with the students,” Aponte said.

Gonzalez shared a similar experience. He highlighted that the Knights Day of Service was a time to engage with diverse peers and give back to the community. 

“One of my favorite parts of the day was when we were able to create school supply packages with the help of more volunteers. This had an impact on me because I know that my work would have a great impact on somebody’s day, and that many kids would be happy and enjoying it,” Gonzalez said.

Livreri consistently emphasizes the difference between community service, volunteering, and civic engagement to the QC community. Volunteering was coined as the principle of giving one’s time to assist others, it is a task someone takes on willingly. 

She explains, “Community service is work done by a person or group of people that benefits others. It is a non-paying job performed by one person or a group of people for the benefit of the community or its institutions — active unpaid participation in the community.”

However, civic engagement differs. 

“Civic Engagement is active unpaid participation in the community and usually involves working with others and facing real-life problems,” she said. “It helps you make a connection between yourself, the skills you have to offer, and the needs of the community. There should be a service-learning aspect to the program you participate in.” 

This is the biggest concept the Knights Day of Service team hopes to promote every year with every participant. 

Livreri concluded that, “We hope to continue to build relationships with the sites we work for years to come so that we always have sites for our students to choose from and return to.” 

The Knights Day of Service epitomizes QC’s work in fostering connections, instilling values of humility, and empowering individuals to make their mark.  

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