WESTFIELD- Westfield State University students will be volunteering throughout the city on Tuesday, Sept. 3 for the 10th annual HOOT Day.
HOOT (Helping Out Our Town) Day is a program run by WSU in which younger college students take a day to volunteer somewhere within the city. Often times that takes the form of a cleanup project or a goodwill project.
“Westfield State’s HOOT Day reinforces our strong connection and commitment to the City of Westfield and provides the opportunity for the university to give back to our community and neighbors,” said WSU President Ramon S. Torrecilha prior to a previous HOOT Day. “For our first-year students, this popular event provides a fitting introduction to the Westfield community.”
HOOT Day is organized largely by Brent Bean II, the Director of Corporate and Constituent Relations and Institutional Advancement at WSU. The event originally began with a Kiwanis Circle K group on campus in 2010.
The idea behind the day is to give new WSU students a better sense of here they will live, beyond the campus.
“Even though they’re only here for a short time, living here gives them a sense of community,” said Bean.
Bean said that most of the students who take part in HOOT Day are Freshmen, but some of them are transfer students as well.
He added that HOOT Day is especially important with Westfield moving towards more outdoor activities, such as the rail train and outdoor dining. Most of these projects are public outdoor locations. This year’s HOOT Day locations include Amelia Park, Stanley Park, and the Boys and Girls Club.
Any other downtown organizations that have not expressed interest in being a location are more than welcome to do so, according to Bean.
Some students will do trash cleanup, while others may do some window cleaning, painting, or gardening. Bean said that some students even take the opportunity to go to the elementary schools dressed as superheroes to meet and greet students.
HOOT Day will begin with an opening ceremony at 8:30 a.m. on the city’s green. It will be attended by Mayor Brian Sullivan, WSU President Ramon Torrecilha, state Rep. John C. Velis, state Sen. Donald F. Humason Jr., and Michael Burns, the City Councilor for Ward 4.
Westfield State University’s radio channel WSKB 89.5 will be broadcasting from the green.
The main sponsors for HOOT Day are Westfield Bank and the Sardinha family, who own and operate the city’s Dunkin’ Donuts franchises.
The locations participating in HOOT Day include Amelia Park Arena, Amelia Park Children’s Museum, downtown public parks and parking lots, Central Baptist Church, Columbia Greenway Rail Trail, Downtown Core District, George’s Jewelers, Second Congregational Church, Stanley Park, Westfield Public Schools, Westfield Boys & Girls Club, Westfield On Weekends, and YMCA of Greater Westfield.