For the sixth annual Non-Sibi Day, Andover students and alumni participated in service projects across the country and around the world last Saturday, in honor of the school’s “not for self” motto. This year, the day of service was not required for returning students.
Because Non-Sibi Day fell on Columbus Day weekend this year, many food and farming projects were closed for the weekend. A total of 12 service projects were available to students, compared to 25 projects last year, according to Monique Cueto-Potts, Director of Community Service. Due to limited space, the Community Service Office required the participation of only the 361 new students.
Returning students were allowed to serve as project leaders on a volunteer basis or to sign up after new students were finished choosing projects. Approximately 70 spots were available for returning students, although less than half of these spots were filled, according to Cueto-Potts.
The most popular projects this year included the project at the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club and the Thompson Island trip, which involved landscaping work on the island, located in Boston Harbor.
Cueto-Potts said that Non-Sibi Day will not fall on Columbus Day weekend next year, though the Community Service Office has not yet decided whether participation will once again be required of all students.
In addition to uniting the farthest reaches of the Andover community in a day of service, Cueto-Potts said that Non-Sibi Day also serves as an introduction to Andover’s community service program for new students.
“There was the added goal of having [the new students] realize that the Community Service Office exists and that we not only run Non-Sibi Day… but also 40 weekly and monthly programs. Hopefully, the kids who went to Cor Unum [a community meal center in Lawrence, Mass.] to serve a meal on Non-Sibi Day now get into the loop and start going to Cor Unum throughout the year,” she said.
“Being able to actually share the knowledge that I have and use it to help other people, was really great,” said Henry Curtis ’15, a new Lower who participated in the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club project. “I really wanted a project that was interpersonal… It was nice to get off campus and really do something meaningful.”
Harriet Chiu ’15, a new Lower who signed up for the Thompson Island project, said, “I had never done manual work like that. I joined the project because the outdoor excursion seemed fun, and it was so different from anything I had done before.”
Harry Wright ’14, a returning Upper, led the Lawrence High School (LHS) “Breaking Ground” project, in which Andover and LHS students met at the Addison Gallery of American Art to get to know one another and discuss their communities.
“I decided to participate in Non-Sibi Day as a project leader because I really wanted to continue my work from the previous spring,” said Wright, who was one of the founding members of the “Breaking Ground” project.
Alec Kingston ’14, a returning Upper who did not participate in this year’s Non-Sibi Day, said “I’m not sure [the day] should just be restricted to new students. It seems really eye-opening and a great way to get involved, regardless of prior community service experience. It brings a sense of togetherness to the school.”
In addition to the “Breaking Ground” project, on-campus events included volunteering at a picnic held at the school’s log cabin for frequent diners at the Bread and Roses meal kitchen in Lawrence and helping Andover’s Sustainability Office with a waste audit, which involved sorting waste from campus dumpsters.
The off-campus projects this year included volunteering at the Emmaus House, a non-profit group that supports homeless adults and families in Haverhill; boxing medical supplies for shipment to developing countries with IMEC; helping young children from low-income communities with reading and vocabulary skills as part of Jumpstart; preparing food for On the Rise, an organization in Cambridge for homeless women; packing texts for shipment to the developing world with the Sabre Foundation; and sorting food with the Lawrence-based Neighbors in Need organization.