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Sophomores Get Their Hands Dirty Around Campus
amanda bennett 10 staff writer
April 22, 2009

Whether mulching the crabapple trees by Plunkett Quad, typing up an essay from the 1964 archive, or rolling tables through the dining hall, sophomores are learning about the work that keeps Deerfield running beautifully through a pilot service initiative program this spring.

One-hundred-and-two sophomores are currently taking part in the Green and White Program. Students involved in the program dedicate one period, or 45 minutes, each week to a job in one of fourteen departments, including the Dining Hall, Alumni and Development, Grounds, and the Athletic Office.

Sophomores signed up for their preferred assignments on a first-come, first-served basis, using the website Moodle.

The idea for the “Green and White Program” grew out of the strategic plan, “Imagine Deerfield.” Dean of Sophomores Amie Creagh explained, “Every group surveyed for ‘Imagine Deerfield’ thought that involvement in the inner workings of the school had been lacking tangible contribution.”

Each department of the pilot program reviewed what tasks were challenges to fit into the day. Program Committee Member and Assistant Director of Food Services Michael McCarthy said, “We tried to figure out what we needed the most help with on what we do every day.”

Now students, working under kitchen crew member Bruce MacConnell, move furniture and mop the floors during the transition time between sit-down and walk-through meals.

“I’ve noticed the dining room is neater and the floors are cleaner,” said Mr. McCarthy, “and students really enjoy working with Mr. MacConnell.”

The program, developed by a committee with student, staff, faculty, and dean’s office representatives, has two main tenets.

“The program offers insight into work that typically just fades into the scenery”––Ellie Parker ’11

“Developing a relationship with staff is something that’s missing from the Deerfield experience. To not connect with that fundamental component of the community is to miss out,” Ms. Creagh explained.

Ellie Parker ’11, who has been helping Physical Plant Groundsperson Denise Dwelley, agreed. “It bridges a gap. It’s another way of making our Deerfield experiences more complete,” she said. Parker added, “The Green and White program offers insight into work that typically just fades into the scenery.”

Justin Kwok ’11 has also been working with Ms. Dwelley. “I did enjoy getting to know my supervisor,” he said. “But I think a lot of sophomores are upset because we are the guinea pigs.”

However, as Committee Member and Science Teacher Julie Cullen said, “The community service program used to be much bigger than it is now, and it’s trying once again to find its way back in a way that makes sense.”

Ellie Carroll ’11 added, “It’s just work, and work isn’t fun, but it’s good to meet new people, and I like working with the staff.”

Parker said, “It takes up a free, but it’s more than worth it.”

Rumors have circulated that the program is tied to recent budget cuts. These rumors are completely false.

“We presented the Green and White Program to the departments asking, ‘What do you always wish at the end of each year that you could have accomplished but weren’t able to get to?’ With these hands, we’re trying to get to that list,” said Ms. Creagh.

For example, in the spring, the dining hall becomes especially hectic organizing prom, spring day, and other special events including Commencement Weekend. “Having extra help will be a real asset for us, because when we get really busy, sometimes these jobs don’t get done,” said Mr. McCarthy.

“We teach students academics in the classroom, table manners at sit-down, how to be good teammates with sports, and we’re now trying to introduce to everyone the value of doing something for someone else,” said Ms. Cullen. “We are trying to educate young people to lead fulfilling lives, to be citizens of the future. Hopefully with everyone doing community service, students will realize that it’s hard to have as good a feeling doing anything else.”