Sugar Day, a long-standing tradition at Hiram College, will bring together hundreds of students for a celebration of service, scholarship, and reflection on Tuesday, March 26.

The event celebrates a “Day of Running Sap,” harkening back to 1856 when Hiram students gathered at the town’s Udall sugar camp to make maple syrup for community residents. Now students have a single day off from class during the spring semester to engage in community service projects. First-year students volunteer with their first-year experience classmates and professor, and upperclassman complete service projects associated with student organizations.

To keep with the Sugar Day theme in past years, Denny Taylor, Ph.D., professor emeritus of biology, led students in the planting of a maple tree on the Hiram College campus. This year, students will instead plant post oak trees in light of climate change predictions for the next 50 – 100 years.

Service projects include the following:

No-Sew T-Shirt Bags:
Students will make grocery bags out of t-shirts as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic. Bags will be donated to the Center of Hope in Ravenna, Ohio; Kent Social Services in Kent, Ohio; and Brimfield Community Cupboard, Inc. in Kent, Ohio.

DIY Dog Toys:
Students will create dog toys out of t-shirts to be donated to the Portage County Dog Warden Shelter in Ravenna, Ohio.

Linus Blankets:
Students will make fleece blankets to be donated to Project Linus, a non-profit organization that provides homemade blankets to children in need. The organization will distribute the blankets to hospitals and areas that have been affected by natural disaster.

Kids Capes of Courage:
Students will create capes for Kids Capes of Courage, a non-profit organization in Akron, Ohio committed to sewing capes for sick and special needs children. The foundation will distribute the capes to hospitals and schools in the area.

Blessing Bags:
Students will fill no-sew t-shirt bags with toiletries and snacks. Blessing Bags will be donated to the Center of Hope in Ravenna, Ohio.

Campus Beautification:
Students will work alongside Hiram College Physical Plant to assist in flower bed mulching and other campus cleanup initiatives.

Volunteer work will also happen at the James H. Barrow Biological Field Station, Hiram Farm, and Little Village Early Learning Center.

Following a morning of community service, students will reflect on their freshman year during lunch with others in their first-year experience course. The remainder of the day will be dedicated to scholarship, with a number of departmental capstones, experiential learning presentations, and independent research presentations. The Annual Juried Student Art Show featured in the College’s Gelbke Fine Arts Gallery will also be open from 1 – 3 p.m. The gallery is located at 12000 Winrock Road in Hiram.
by Jenelle Bayus