Posted on Aug 30, 2001

Schenectady, N.Y. (August 30, 2001) – On Saturday, Sept. 1, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., about 500 Union College freshmen will join dozens of community volunteers to pitch in, pick up and put a shine on the City of Schenectady. Work teams will tackle a range of projects throughout the city, everything from painting the city's railroad bridges and pulling weeds to removing graffiti and planting flowers.

“At Union, service to the community is an integral part of the College experience,” said Union President Roger Hull, who created the volunteer day in 1995 and is an active participant each year. “We have found that these projects engender a volunteer spirit that continues to flourish throughout their college years.”

Union students will be joined by more than 100 community volunteers from Schenectady 2000 and the General Electric Elfun Society, a company-wide volunteer organization of GE leaders. “It's incredible how much we accomplish in a single day,” said Debbie DeLuke, Schenectady 2000 project director. “Without question, the volunteer spirit in this city is alive and well.”

Over the past six years, Freshmen Day has contributed much to the revitalization of Schenectady. Here's a look at the numbers since 1995:

  • Volunteers: 3,000 Union students and more than 1,000 community members have contributed more than 10,000 hours of service.
  • Painting: More than 600 gallons have been used to spruce-up 11 of the city's railroad bridges, miles of guardrails and railings, and dozens of pieces of playground equipment.
  • Landscaping: Thousands of mums, shrubs, and hundreds of pounds of mulch and topsoil have been used to beautify area parks, parking lots and playgrounds.

The annual community service day, called The John Calvin Toll 1799 Community Day, is named in honor of John Calvin Toll, Union Class of 1799 (the College's first class). This year, General Electric, the major sponsor of the event since its inception in 1995, contributed $10,000 towards the purchase of supplies, including hundreds of flowers and plants, gallons of paint and truckloads of mulch. Since 1995, GE has contributed $60,000 to support the community-service effort.

“Funding projects like this is a pleasure,” said Jan Smith, manager of business communications & external affairs for GE Power Systems. “The beautification day is a great example of cooperative effort and support. The monetary gift combined with the hard work of volunteers ensures the project's success.”





  • BIKE PATH ON NOTT ST: 100 students and volunteers to clean-up/paint fences in area around Union Community center.
  • AMTRAK PARKING LOT (Erie Blvd. and Liberty St.): flower/shrub plantings, weeding, painting, etc.
  • CENTER CITY SPORTSPLEX (State Street, across from Proctors): inside painting, washing windows, plantings, etc.
  • LIBRTY PARK, VALE PARK: 60+ students engage in fence painting, re-paint lines on basketball courts, etc.
  • NOTT TERRACE: 30+ students to clean the area
  • RAILROAD BRIDGE PAINTING: North Jay Street, Union Street, Green Street, and Pine Street bridges will be painted by 100+ students and volunteers
  • JAY STREET PEDESTRIAN MALL: 30+ students volunteers to clean the area