Day of Service allows NT alumni to work on community passion projects

Graduates continue their service to humanity



Student Council leaders help collect trash along the Green Bay Trail for the Day of Service

This year on Apr. 23, the New Trier Educational Foundation and the Young Alumni Council hosted the Day of Service, an event that connected students and alumni across the country to work on social service projects.This year, over 11 projects were hosted throughout the U.S. by alumni and community members.

Student groups that participated in the event this April included BinaryHeart at Northfield campus who collected used and broken electronics for fixing and redistribution. BinaryHeart also participated last year during the event’s premiere.

Outside organizations also participated in the event, however. Friends of the Green Bay Trail, an existing organization dedicated to preserving the Green Bay Trail, hosted an event with the help of Foundation co-captains Rob Faurot and John McGuinness. The organization which was founded in 2010 dedicates its efforts in removing invasive buckthorn and trash and replacing it with native plants that belong along the trail.

“What you have is a group of people started 12 years ago that were effectively landscaping with native plants,” Friends of the Green Bay Trail Rob Sheppard said.

Additionally, the New Trier Township Food Pantry also took part by collecting canned goods and non-perishable food items in front of The Grand Food Center, a local market in Winnetka. 

“Right now we’re collecting for their [New Trier Township Food Pantry]  most needed items,” New Trier Educational Foundation Board Director Erika Joyce said. “Sometimes people feel in the New Trier community that help isn’t needed,, but there are people struggling that rely on the food pantry.”

Foundation Board Director Erika Joyce (left) and Young Alumni Leadership Council Member Meredith Falk (right) stand in front of The Grand and collect food items for the local pantry (NTEF)

Additional events included a forest restoration project with Trees Atlanta by Leah Fessler in Georgia which pledged to remove invasive species for a forest to grow in its place. Joanne Panopoulos and his team helped collect humanitarian relief aid for Ukrainians; Foundation Board Director Joan Criswell and her son Teddy Criswell gathered art supplies for ZCenter, a place where children inflicted by trauma from abuse can do art therapy.

The collected art supplies went to Zacharias Center, an organization serving the greater Chicagoland area (NTEF)

“The Day of Service truly was the embodiment of what is personally my favorite part of the New Trier motto, ‘To commit lives to the service of humanity,’” said Board of Education Vice President Jean Hahn in an article last year about the Day of Service.

Although the Day of Service had projects across the country such as the one in Atlanta, organizers want to make this a more widespread event nationally.

“I would love to see this grow nationally, to see more projects in places where we have more pockets of alumni,” Executive Director of the New Trier Educational Foundation Liz Mayer said.

The Day of Service first started last year during COVID, meaning organizers had to be weary of health guidelines and mandates. However, this year’s organizers felt that this new environment allowed for more social and interactive events to be hosted rather than just collections.

“This year, there’s a lot more opportunities and people are able to be social and do things again,” Mayer said.

Although the event is over, people can still help and support causes that were present at the event. BinaryHeart and the New Trier Township Food Pantry still receive their respective donation items and organizations for Ukraine relief are also continuing to fundraise online.

“The ZCenter and Willow House continue to collect art supplies in perpetuity and then Be The Match, a bone marrow transplant match site, is always live,” said Mayer.