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Clarkson students, alums serve their communities

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POTSDAM - From New York City to San Francisco, several hundred Clarkson students and alumni came together on April 20 to volunteer.

The first “Clarkson Serves” event attracted 357 participants nationwide, including 227 students who volunteered on campus and in the Village of Potsdam and 91 alumni from 16 chapters, including Washington, D.C., Santa Monica, Calif., Boston, Mass., Burlington, Vt., and several in upstate New York.

In Potsdam, students teamed up with faculty and staff to plant 157 trees, remove trash and prepare flower beds for spring planting both on campus and in Fall Island Lions Park downtown.

Alumni chapters volunteered at food banks and cleaned up beaches and parks in their communities, such as the Santa Monica Pier in California and Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, which Hurricane Sandy damaged last year.

Community service has always been a priority for Clarkson students and alumni, according to Suzann Couts, assistant director of alumni relations. But this year, Clarkson wanted to bring its students and alumni together for a day-long event. All volunteers were encouraged to share their experiences on Twitter and Instagram in order to connect with other students and alumni nationwide who were also giving back.

“I’m very excited with the outcome of our first Clarkson Serves event,” Couts said. “It was really a home run. I’m very much looking forward to growing this both nationally and on campus next year.”

Billy VanNostrand ’14, a civil engineering major, joined with fellow members of Clarkson’s club football team to volunteer. Together, they cleaned away brush and repainted a shed near their playing field.

“I just think it’s the nature of the school,” VanNostrand said. “It’s in the students’ blood to want to give back because of the opportunities that are provided at Clarkson.”

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