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Humanics. In Action. By Marty Dobrow


It Is a sparklIng tuesday mornIng In late september. Oak leaves, still green and supple, rustle in the breeze. A large American flag billows and snaps. From 93 million miles away, a huge ball of gas radiates warmth down through a blue sky onto a red track, where we gather. Of course, it’s just a speck of the universe,


but it’s our speck: Springfield College. Here we are, some 2,000 strong, donning white t-shirts, grabbing rakes and wheelbarrows and children’s books. There are newly- minted first-year students just weeks into the journey, and graduate students getting ready to launch. There are librarians and football coaches, professors of physics and poetry, and, of course, the silver-haired president of the little school with the big heart. “Good morning to all of you,” says


Richard B. Flynn, “and welcome to the 15th annual Humanics in Action Day at Springfield College! I want to thank each of you for volunteering your time, talents, and energy to go into our neighborhoods today as part of this traditional Springfield College community initiative…Thanks again for being a part of this special day; thanks for living our mission by displaying leadership in service to others…” The College shares the name of the city,


of course, and Mayor Domenic Sarno chimes in to the assembled masses: “President Flynn, it has been unprecedented, the outreach of Springfield College when it comes to working, developing our neighbor- hoods, our communities, our schools…” Both men keep their comments brief.


They know this is not a day for words. This is a day for action. Humanics in action. **


Greg Woods, a first-year business manage- ment major from Middletown, Conn., is escorted by three children half his size into the White Street School, one of more than 100 project sites on this Tuesday morning. They walk into a building with cracked floor tiles and big banners proclaiming,


TRIANGLE 1 Vol . 84, No. 1


leadership and service. This morning it takes the form of Robinson, eagerly, if somewhat nervously, reading aloud the story, “Whistle for Willie.” Woods leans forward in a tiny chair toward a Somalian girl named Faisa, a vibrant red scarf atop her head, completely untied Starter sneakers at her feet. Woods


“Respectful,” “Responsible,” “Positive,” and “Safe,” along with the image of the school’s improbable mascot: the “Graduating Bear” (complete with mortar board and diploma). They head down to Room 2, a corridor where backpacks featuring Hot Wheels, Spider Man, Hello kitty, and Dora the Explorer hang on hooks. Inside, 21 5-and-6-year-olds sit cross-


legged on a carpet. They are kids with names like Cing San, Edyani, Joendy, and Myaliz. Here at the White Street School, more than a third of the children have a first language other than English, including all of the kids in Room 2. At home, some speak languages Greg Woods has rarely, if ever, heard of: Burmese, Somalian, Tagalog. The son of a former running back in


the NFL, Woods carries himself with an appealing mix of serenity and effervescence. He is here with two other first-year students: Ian Robinson and Sean Caffe. All three are students in Allison Cumming-McCann’s Humanics Seminar, a class focused explicitly on fundamental tenets of the College:


helps her find the proper Bingo cards related to scenes in the book. A bond begins to form. “I just really, really like it,” Woods will say


weeks later after a few more trips back to the White Street School. “There’s something


“I want to thank each of you for volunteering your time, talents, and energy to go into our neighborhoods today as part of this traditional Springfield College community initiative…Thanks again for being a part of this special day; thanks for living our mission by displaying leadership in service to others…”


President Richard B. Flynn


about them. They can’t really understand everything you’re saying, but they can understand a smile. It was just a great experience to see all the different countries and languages represented. And they all got along. They aren’t different.” **


Danielle Every knocks on a door on Marshall Street. It is terrain just two blocks south of campus, yet rarely explored by college students. Every’s multiple small earrings glint in the sun; her light brown eyes are animated; her manner is earnest. She waits. Marion Weston, a quiet, religious woman, creaks the door open and welcomes her into a cluttered living room. Every is a second-year graduate student


in organizational and industrial psychology. She is spending her Humanics in Action Day surveying community members about their perceptions of the neighborhood. How safe does it feel? How friendly? How has it changed over the years? Weston considers each question on the


four-page survey designed by HAPHousing, a local nonprofit focused on revitalizing urban communities. She has lived here for some 30 years. She has seen children veering on training wheels, and she has heard ambulance sirens piercing the night.


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