On March 18, all members the Haverford community—students, faculty, and staff—were invited to take a break from their usual Friday schedules to participate in volunteer projects at sites throughout the Philadelphia region in honor of the 34 years of service that now-retired Marilou Allen gave to the College.
For the Day of Community Engagement, more than 50 Haverford volunteers worked in small groups on a variety of projects, both active and educational. One group cleaned up the lot and planted an educational garden with students at Taggert Elementary. Another worked outdoors, learned about aquaponics, and toured Riverbend Environmental Education Center. Some Fords readied vegetable beds at Sweat Equity Farm 50, and other planted lettuce and other cold crops for the garden at the House of Grace’s hospitality house, which provides housing and community for those who have been displaced. Students, including those in Chris Roebuck’s “Knowledge/Power/Practice: Exploring Bio-Social Ethics in Science and Medicine” course, learned about the work of community health organization Puentes de Salud. There was a discussion about the ways criminal records impact people’s ability to survive and thrive at Community Legal Services, and a meeting with Haverford House Fellow Callie Perrone ’15 at the Center for Hunger-Free Communities, which also included a visit to EAT Cafe, Philadelphia’s first nonprofit restaurant, which is currently under construction.
The Day of Community Engagement, which was organized by 8th Dimension and the Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility working group and developed in collaboration with Noah Leavitt ’91, Eric Tars ’98, and David Wertheimer ’77, was a fitting honor for Allen, who had been director of the College’s community service office since 1981.