WESTFIELD- Westfield State University’s students are back on campus for the fall semester, and to help kick off the new school year some students participated in the 10th annual HOOT Day.
HOOT Day (Helping Out Our Town) is an annual event held by WSU in which students fresh from summer break can volunteer for community service projects throughout the city. The projects can take different forms from cleanup projects to goodwill events.
Brent B. Bean II, the director of Corporate and Constituent Relations and Institutional Advancement at WSU was the primary organizer of the event. He said that part of the reasoning behind holding HOOT Day is to benefit the newer students. The idea being that it will give them a better sense of the city in which they live beyond the WSU campus.
“Even though they’re only here for a short time, living here gives them a sense of community,” said Bean.
Students could be seen doing projects throughout the city, including places like Amelia Park and the Boys and Girls Club. Bean said that 94 WSU students took part in HOOT Day overall this year.
Shacora Williams is a senior at WSU who volunteered for HOOT Day. Despite the day being mainly directed at newer students, Williams and Shavon McBynum, another senior, volunteered and helped cleanup parts of the Amelia Park complex.
“It’s just a good opportunity to do some community service.” Said Williams.
Another aspect of HOOT Day is the goodwill events some of the students choose to do. On Thursday last week, several WSU students went to the Southampton Road School dressed up as superheroes to greet the kids on their first day of school. Sophomores Michael Buckley, Lorenze Beltran, and Ryan Hickey dressed as Batman, Spiderman, and Captain America, respectively, to greet the elementary school students.
Due to the first days of Westfield Public Schools and WSU’s move-in day being on different days this year, the superhero greeting did not actually take place on HOOT Day.
WSU President Dr. Ramon Torrecilha expressed his support for these types of events.
“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 Torrecilha. “For our first-year students, this popular event provides a fitting introduction to the Westfield community.”
HOOT Day began with an opening ceremony at Park Square Green, and was accompanied by a special broadcast of WSKB 89.5 from the green. Guests on the special airing included state Rep. John C.Velis and The Westfield New’s Assistant Managing Editor Hope E. Tremblay.
The main sponsors for HOOT Day are Westfield Bank and the Sardinha family, who own and operate the city’s Dunkin’ Donuts franchises.