Non Sibi Day 2012 Required only for New Students

This year, less than half of 1,106 students at Andover will be able to participate in community service projects on October 6 as part of the fifth annual Non Sibi Day. Non Sibi Day has been held on the first Saturday of October since 2009. However, because that day coincides with Columbus Day weekend this year, 10 of the 25 projects in which Andover students participated last year are closed for the holiday, according to Monique Cueto-Potts, Director of Community Service. In planning discussions late last spring, the administration and Brad Silnutzer, Interim Director of Community Service for the 2011-2012 school year, decided to require Non Sibi Day participation only for newly admitted students, so that this year’s projects could accommodate all participants. Participation in Non Sibi Day, named for the school’s “not for self” motto, has traditionally been mandatory for all students, except those with standardized testing and athletic commitments. According to Cueto-Potts, most of the food projects will be closed, including the project at the Greater Boston Food Bank, a popular program that attracted 50 to 70 Andover students annually. Cueto-Potts is unsure if the new Non Sibi Day model will continue next year. “Non Sibi Day starts getting planned in January. We are just trying to get through this [upcoming] Non Sibi Day and to make sure that the nearly 50 [community service] programs that we run on a weekly basis get off to a strong start. I’m sure we’ll be discussing it with administrators again in the winter, but right now we haven’t thought that far ahead,” said Cueto-Potts. She said that her ongoing transition into her position as Community Service Director also was a factor in the decision to adopt the new model. “There are these two factors going on at once. Brad and senior administrators at the school in the spring decided to look into new models for Non Sibi Day. [Requiring the participation of only new students] was one that they came up with because we would still be able to do Non Sibi Day and it would also serve as a really great welcome for the new students to get involved with community service,” said Cueto-Potts. As in past years, returning students can still participate as project leaders for Non Sibi Day on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Community Service Office will need a minimum of 20 returning students to lead projects, according to Cueto-Potts. Besides signing up as project leaders, returning students can also participate in Non Sibi Day if there are spots remaining after new students sign up. “Though there aren’t [as many] options for them on Non Sibi Day, [returning students] are welcome to sign up to volunteer every week through our programs,” said Sarah Coghlan, Assistant Director of Community Service.