On the morning of Saturday, April 7, the Illinois Tech Office of Campus Life (OCL) and Assistant Director of Campus Life Patrick Fina held this year’s iteration of Tech Gives Back, an annual day of service across the city of Chicago. This year, five different sites partnered with Illinois Tech to give students the opportunity to engage in a fulfilling day of community service, with complimentary breakfast and lunch provided by OCL.
The day began in Perlstein Hall’s auditorium at 9 a.m. Alongside a free coffee and donut bar (provided by Stan’s Donuts & Coffee), Fina also introduced Illinois Tech’s partners from the Chicago branch of Be The Match, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping victims of Leukemia find suitable bone marrow donors. To show support for the organization, all the Illinois Tech students present joined in a challenge to bite into a lemon, based on the “Lemons for Leukemia Challenge,” started by Leukemia victim Chris Betancourt. As one of the items on his bucket list upon receiving his diagnosis, Betancourt set out to set a world record for “Most Bone Marrow Donor Sign-ups.” Thus, the “Lemons for Leukemia Challenge” was created, and Illinois Tech demonstrated it was more than willing to join in.
Afterwards, Fina dispatched the students present in groups to their various service sites. Students from Illinois Tech then spent the next several hours volunteering at local Chicago service sites, such as the gardens of Urban Juncture and New Horizons, the warehouse of the Rebuilding Exchange, laying down cardboard mulch for our own U-Farm IIT, and painting bike racks and roadside curbs around campus on behalf of the Illinois Tech Department of Facilities and Maintenance Managements.
From approximately 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the teams of Illinois Tech students spent their mornings volunteering their time at the sites of their choosing, helping organize the materials of the Rebuilding Exchange, tending to the gardens of Urban Juncture and New Horizons, or helping paint the structures right here at Illinois Tech. As Fina himself expressed, service and Illinois Institute of Technology have a very close relationship and taking the opportunities to keep this relationship going can mean all the difference to our local community partners.