The act of being charitable has become a trend once more. Regardless of the reasons, society has recognized that helping out others in need is the right thing to do. 

According to a report done by RIT's Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, the RIT community reported 18,500 hours in community service and raised approximately $151,800 for multiple philanthropies last year. The opportunity to do good is practically limitless on our campus.

Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement

The Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement has one mission: “We prepare RIT students to exercise leadership as members of a rapidly changing global community.”

The Center acts as a hub and provides extensive access to a variety of charitable organizations. They supply a list of all the places students and faculty can volunteer based on a variety of interests. They also sponsor 12 “Into the Roc” projects — six per semester — where students tackle large-scale projects for nonprofit organizations or help with agencies’ special events.

“This program is the perfect launching board for students who are interested in getting involved in the Rochester community,” said Kathryn Cilano, the program coordinator for the Center. "Students are constantly leveraging the skills and concepts they are learning on campus out in the Rochester and global communities."

Cilano was actively involved with charity while attending SUNY Potsdam. From there, she began a career circulating philanthropy.

"My favorite event of the year was Relay for Life, because it showed me the incredible impact a group of people can create when they come together for the greater good," she said.

Cilano is here to help students who share her passion for philanthropy. The Center aims to encourage students to use volunteering as a way to better themselves while bettering the world. It starts with signing up to join a cause. 

They with a number of philanthropic organizations, as well as runs programs of their own. They partner with Habitat for Humanity to construct frames for new houses in Rochester. Giving Tuesday's Hunger Project features a collaboration between RIT FoodShare and Foodlink to assist community volunteers in packaging meals for the organization Feeding Children Everywhere.

Though the application process has ended for this year’s round, Alternative Spring Break trips are typically organized by the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, offering students the chance to spend spring break helping communities in need. They tend to announce the trips at the beginning of the Fall semester and start recruitment in September. 

If none of their main projects interest you, you can check out one of the two community service fairs hosted by the Center every semester.

Endless Opportunities to Give Back

The Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement is not your only option. Student organizations host a number of events where anyone can get involved.

RIT is home to a chapter of the nationally-recognized community service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. They have a part in putting on Haunted Hayride and Relay for Life, two well-known events on campus. They also actively work with Foodlink and the Boy’s and Girl’s Club. Alpha Phi Omega is open to any student to join, especially if community service is something the student is passionate about.

Throughout the year, Greek life sponsors a variety of events as well. These sororities and fraternities actively give back to their local and national philanthropies and open the opportunity up for the rest of campus to participate as well. Many of these members join their organizations for the philanthropies they support. 

Timmy Tantuico, a third year Industrial and Systems Engineering major of Zeta Tau Alpha, has a strong passion for philanthropy geared toward breast cancer education and awareness, as it has directly affected her family. 

On her sorority's recent participation at the Think Pink Week at Stokoe Farms, Tantuico said, “It was heartwarming when these people were thanking us for doing what we do and that our chapter [was] making a difference.”

Delta Phi Epsilon hosts Be-You-Tiful Week for the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. Sigma Chi and Phi Kappa Psi partner together to put on Winter Warrior which benefits the Veteran's Outreach Center of Rochester. Delta Sigma Pi sponsors several events to aid organizations like the Ronald McDonald House and the Willow Center. While none of the organizations share the same philanthropy, they share a goal: raise notable amounts of money while drawing the RIT community in to support the cause. 

Local Spots to Volunteer

If you want to volunteer off campus, there are ample options in Rochester, alone. You can find yourself stopping by Lollypop Farm to play with animals, help in a soup kitchen at Open Door Mission or display your voice with Empire Justice

No matter your interest, on or off campus, there are many opportunities to give back. 

Tigers on Community Service

Timmy Tantuico: Zeta Tau Alpha — third year Industrial and Systems Engineering major

Why she volunteers: “I have had family members affected by breast cancer, so I am very passionate about our philanthropy. My favorite part of October is when our chapter volunteers for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. We get to spread awareness and hand out ribbons to non-RIT students and have the chance to interact with breast cancer survivors.”

Dakota McDonough: Alpha Phi Omega — fourth year Mechanical Engineering major

What led her to join: “I joined because the organization was service oriented, but also had slight elements of Greek Life in it. A fun group of both guys and girls working to not only better the community, but themselves through leadership opportunities APO had to offer."

Sabrina Krutz: Alpha Phi Omega — fifth year Environmental Sustainability, Health and Safety major

Favorite event held by organization: “My favorite event is an annual event called ‘Shantytown.' Every year we create our own shelter made out of cardboard boxes and then for an entire week, brothers man the shelter. We hope to raise awareness of the homeless population — which is especially high in the Rochester area — and raise funds to donate to a local shelter.”

Alexis Collazo: President of Silver Wings, first year graduate student in Media Arts and Technology

What led her to join: “I wanted more exposure to various types of professionals as well as a system to network with.” 

Kathryn Cilano: Program coordinator for the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement

Favorite part of her job: “My favorite part of my job is talking to students about how they want to make an impact. I love hearing about their passion projects, their skill sets and the ideas they would implement in the community given the chance — and then turning around and matching them with a charitable organization who is looking for someone just like them. The stories do not get told enough, but our students are out in the community doing some pretty incredible things."