We throw the fish. We pat the cat. Now here comes a new UNH tradition: Unity Day.
On the last Saturday of the semester student volunteers will spruce things up on campus and around town on a day dedicated to giving back to the community.
Unity Day is coming together at the hands of students, who have been working with campus administration and town officials to identify projects in need of helping hands. Volunteers will weed, mulch, clean and showcase their community-mindedness at Wildcat Stadium, the Durham Public Library and many other locations, including the site of the former ATO fraternity on Main Street.
“There is lots of energy behind this,” says Ted Kirkpatrick, dean of students. “The Greek system, student athletes, student organizations, the Student Senate, the Diversity Support Coalition and numerous others” are rallying behind the effort.
Join other Wildcats in making a great community. Sign up to be a part of Unity Day.
The inaugural Unity Day takes place Saturday, May 5. The date is no coincidence; it’s exactly a year to the day after Cinco de Mayo celebrations produced certain uncivil actions, hateful speech and destructive behavior, prompting President Mark Huddleston to create a task force dedicated to strengthening our community. Unity Day is one result of a yearlong and continuing effort to build a better UNH.
“I’m really excited to be working on this project because it gives students an outlet to create positive change,” says Abby Colby ‘19, one of the organizers. A Durham native, Colby says she’s eager to help put a more positive spin on what has been a challenging day in recent years.
“UNH is a big school with a wonderful, diverse population,” Colby says. “Shifting the mentality [around Cinco de Mayo] will take years of change, and hopefully Unity Day will start that. There are thousands of students who would rather spend that day giving back to their community.”
When it comes to public service, Wildcats are prolific; students logged a half million hours of it during the 2016-2017 academic year. With Unity Day, they’re bound to surpass those numbers this year and those hence — it's expected to become an annual event to be held on the last Saturday of every spring semester.
But, Wildcats like fun, too, and before the service work gets underway on May 5, a couple of events will fuel the community spirit. The Residence Hall Association will hold its annual Half-Naked Whole Mile road race, which, instead of registration fees, collects clothing donations from runners and distributes them to area organizations that serve people in need. And the Wildcat football team will take to the stadium for a Blue-White game featuring Team Wild versus Team ‘Cats at 11 a.m.