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Low Turnout at Event to Promote Community Service

By Joann Fan

Turnout was low at the Habitat for Humanity Social After Dark on Wednesday, September 29. Pounding music, glitter-covered tables and even a table covered with free snacks was not enough to lure students to SAC Ballroom A.

In spite of little student interest, the clubs that attended—Circle K, the Community Service Club, Distressed Children and Infants, the Environmental Club and the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH)— were eager to talk about their organizations. UNICEF was scheduled to attend, but no representatives showed.

Senior Victoria Pisarevskaya, treasurer of the Circle K International branch at the university, said that she had no idea how many students would show up because it is the first year the event was held.

Circle K at Stony Brook University has been chartered for two years, and participants volunteer in everything from soup kitchens to veterans homes. This year, one of their main goals is to contribute to the elimination of neonatal tetanus in third-world countries.

Kiran Lorick helped to run the Community Service Club table at the social. As a junior, Lorick has been with the club for three years and participates in most of its events. He said that about one hundred members show up to every meeting and a project like its annual beach cleanup draws dozens of participants.

The club also puts on fundraisers such as one for relief for victims affected by the devastating earthquake in Haiti but most of their work takes place within the community rather than on campus.

“Once you get them talking,” Lorick said of a visit to a hospital ward that housed terminally ill patients, “it’s just the most amazing thing.”

First-year students Dani Hafner and Cassie DeFelice have been involved with the Community Service Club for about a month, they said, and showed their support at the event.

Senior Ed Arzomand was inducted into the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) during his freshman year and is now the president. The NRHH has a membership cap of one percent of residential students—90 students, this year— and is an organization that provides its members with opportunities to develop their leadership skills. They currently have about 50 active members.

NRHH has several local campus initiatives, as well as international ones. The Global Gear Drive is an initiative designed to collect sports equipment and distribute it to underprivileged areas. The organization also participates in and volunteers for events like the Heart Walk, which took place on Saturday, October 16.

The Environmental Club on campus works to increase sustainability and also volunteers with environmental initiatives. Two members of Distressed Children and Infants (DCI) were also present, but left soon after it became clear that the Social was not drawing in many students.

Though the social was scheduled to end at 11 p.m., the event ended over an hour early. Jessica Franklin, who organized the event, stayed by the door most of the night to talk to students who approached. Many entered for a few minutes, but left just as quickly.

Promotion for the event had not reached many students and Franklin said that it could have gone better. It turns out that an event advertised as a Facebook event usually does better than one that is not.

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