‘Upbeat and incredibly energizing’: MOVE off to a positive start with volunteer activities galore

September 15, 2023
Elizabeth Murray
Associate Director of Public Relations

Close to one hundred students – mostly first-years – participated in MOVE’s annual First-Year Apple Picking event, a volunteer tradition for incoming students in the first few weeks of the semester that stretches back decades.

Students pick apples at Chapin Orchards during the annual First-Year Apple Picking event held by MOVE in September 2023. (Courtesy of MOVE)

For many first-year students, this event is their first taste of the myriad of volunteer activities they can participate in through MOVE, which stands for Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts. Apple picking with MOVE has also traditionally served as a fun way for first-year students to continue to get to know one another and to explore Vermont’s seasonal recreation options. 

More recently, apple picking has happened during the same weekend as MOVE’s Welcome Back and Fun Friday – an event where students, faculty and staff stopped by the organization’s office in Alliot Hall for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, rock-painting, and conversation. MOVE Director Lara Scott said these activities, among others (like training for MOVE Core Team members), helped start off the semester in a really positive way.  

“Through all this meaningful time together, I was reminded that students at SMC show up, give all they have, and make a difference,” Scott said. “It is clear from these first few weeks that service to each other and service to the community is valued by our students.” 

She added, “We have quickly seen students expressing interest in opportunities and being curious about what’s available this year. … There is a buzz in MOVE and it feels upbeat and incredibly energizing. What a beautiful way to enter the semester. I’m left feeling eager for what’s to come.” 

Students help sort apples at Chapin Orchards during the annual First-Year Apple Picking event held by MOVE in September 2023. (Courtesy of MOVE)

Apple picking, sorting and reflection  

Students pick apples at Chapin Orchards during the annual First-Year Apple Picking event held by MOVE in September 2023. (Courtesy of MOVE)

Chapin Orchards, where first-year apple picking was held, was one of many apple orchards affected by a late spring frost. Because the orchard lost about 90% of its crop, there were a limited number of apples for picking.  

So, students also helped sort apples from a large 20-bushel box into one-bushel crates that could be donated to the Age Well for its Meals on Wheels program and to Heavenly Food Pantry in Essex, according to MOVE Assistant Director Vicky Castillo. Those apples had been purchased from a neighboring farm with less severe crop loss.

Chapin’s cider operation was also running, so student volunteers took a tour of the space and learned about the cider-making process – a special treat, Castillo said.  

Students ended the day by reflecting on their experiences in small groups. Together, they answered the question, “What does community service mean to you?” Those answers now appear on paper cutouts of apples that will be hung on an apple tree display in the MOVE office.  

More upcoming opportunities for service through MOVE 

Other MOVE programs are looking for volunteers as they get back into the swing of things this fall. They include the following: 

  • Youth Mentoring Program: Students can apply now through the QR code on posters around campus or can attend an info session on Sept. 14 in the Farrell Room. Employees can also nominate students they believe would make great mentors by contacting MOVE.  
  • Service Trip Program: Applications for this program opened Sept. 14. A second information session will be held Thursday, Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Roy Room in Dion. There are seven week-long service trips available this year. 

Ryan Hay, Assistant Director of MOVE, paints a rock during the annual MOVE Welcome Back and Fun Friday in September 2023. (Photo by Elizabeth Murray)

  • Sophomore Seekers: MOVE is also supporting this new program through the Office of Purposeful Learning. The program is helping to offer a service event for sophomores and interested faculty or staff called “Flood Recovery in the Natural Area with MOVE and Professor McCabe.” That event is being held Sept. 21 at 1:30 p.m. 
  • Annual Fiz Blood Drive: This annual blood drive is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 6. More information about signing up to donate blood and volunteer will become available soon. 
  • Farm Fridays: MOVE partners with the Center for the Environment on Friday afternoons through its Outdoor Volunteer Efforts (OVE) program. Students can sign up on the MOVE bulletin board in Alliot Hall and volunteer at The Farm at Saint Michael’s. 
  • Correctional Volleyball: Volunteers can sign up to play volleyball at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in South Burlington with people in custody at the facility. Paperwork is necessary to enter the facility.  
  • Other programs: Students should check the MOVE bulletin board in Alliot Hall to find out about other regular local programs, get up-to-date information, and to sign up. Programs often shift week-to-week.   

More information about MOVE can be found here.>> 

Follow us on social.