University of Rochester

Students Promote Gandhi and Community Service Congresswoman Slaughter is keynote speaker for day's events

September 29, 1999

A group of University of Rochester students is initiating an effort to commemorate the ideals of Mohandas K. Gandhi through community service.

The National Gandhi Day of Service, which will be held Saturday, Oct. 9, is part of a newly launched campaign involving 25 colleges and universities across the country to spur awareness of the Indian humanitarian and his non-violent activism.

At the University, the event is being initiated by Neil Ghushe '01, Nitun Verma '00, Akash Desai '00, and Sumanth Bollepolli '02, who are planning activities in cooperation with national coordinators. The four hope to have about 75 students, faculty, and staff members sign up to help at several local non-profit sites.

U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter will kick off the day by speaking to volunteers about the value of community service efforts in the local area.

"Gandhi said, 'You must become the change you wish to see in the world,'" said Ghushe in explaining the idea behind the day. "We want to make people aware of Gandhi and his ideals, and then go out into the community and put them into practice." Gandhi practiced passive resistance and promoted non-violent measures to secure Indian independence from Great Britain and to improve conditions for Indians living in South Africa.

Volunteers will be able to register and sign up in advance or on the morning of the service day. On Oct. 9, registration will begin at 9 a.m. in Lower Strong Auditorium. Participants will learn their assigned sites at 9:30, followed by Slaughter's address at 10. Volunteers will be working at various sites, such as community centers or nursing homes, from approximately 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Transportation and lunch will be provided. After their return to campus, participants will be treated to dessert and entertainment by the a cappella group Midnight Ramblers, and will discuss their efforts and complete evaluation forms.

Gandhi Day of Service is sponsored by Community Service Network, ADITI (Association for the Development of Interest of the Indian Subcontinent), and KASA (Korean American Students' Association). For more information, contact Ghushe at 274-2117 or Verma at 274-3570.