Diversity + Outreach

Week of Service: Fostering community, giving back

As dental students, we are uniquely positioned to give back to our communities in various ways. We can join with a few friends, our entire class or, during ASDA’s Week of Service, with thousands of other dental students to volunteer.

At my ASDA chapter, community service events are always going on. Columbia students frequently visit local schools, shelters and new mother support groups to give oral hygiene instructions and screenings. Our chapter has collected clothing for veterans and school supplies for foster children. It’s always rewarding to give back to our community, but knowing we’re doing so with dozens of other ASDA chapters during Week of Service allows us feel the magnitude of our abilities to help those in need. 

To kick off Week of Service, students from four different chapters were featured on the ASDA Instagram to share their chapters’ service events and discuss what community service means to them. Spencer Laufer shared her experience with University of Kentucky’s Saturday Morning Clinic. Beatrice Williams talked about the University of North Carolina’s new ASDA Community Service Committee and their Week of Service plans. Kristina Ceravolo posted about what community service means to her and about her time volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club and Pittsburgh’s women’s shelter. Treyce Sanderson and Jory Pellegrom talked about their passion for philanthropy and Minnesota’s involvement with Special Olympics. While experiences with community service vary, what unites us is a passion for helping others and a desire to give back.

From Jan. 17-25, ASDA chapters across the country came together for service events in their community. Here are some highlights from the week:

  • University of Tennessee students volunteered at a local health fair and hosted a clothing drive.
  • Virginia ASDA students made care packages for the Ronald McDonald House.
  • Oklahoma hosted a clothing, food and feminine hygiene drive for their local homeless shelter.
  • Roseman ASDA students served meals to underserved women in Salt Lake County in Utah.
  • Houston volunteers helped packed 2,020 meals at the Houston Food Bank.
  • Kentucky ASDA hosted a Mission Lexington volunteer night.
  • Iowa made pet toys for their local animal shelter and made paracord survival bracelets for deployed troops.
  • Maryland ASDA cleaned litter around Baltimore.
  • Penn students cooked breakfast for families at the Penn Transplant House.
  • Tufts volunteered at a residential care facility for seniors and taught children the importance of good oral hygiene.
  • Students across the country sent friendly letters to nursing homes, soldiers and local children.

To see more community service events ASDA chapters held, search #ASDAWeekofService and check out the Week of Service highlighted stories on Instagram.

This year, we also introduced the ASDA National Food Drive Challenge. This united all chapters in collecting non-perishable food items for local food pantries throughout the month of January. Seventeen chapters participated in this initiative and thousands of items were donated. The chapter that collected the most non-perishable foods will receive an award at Annual Session 2020.

ASDA Week of Service was a wonderful week full of chapters giving back to their communities. For help and ideas planning future community service events, visit ASDA’s website.

~Sydney Shapiro, Columbia ’21, ASDA Council on Professional Issues Chair

Sydney Shapiro

Sydney Shapiro is a class of 2021 DDS/MPH candidate at Columbia University. She is chair of the ASDA Council on Professional Issues for 2019-20. In her free time, Sydney enjoys biking, baking and exploring NYC.

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