escapegroupWestern’s turnout for the first annual “CT Publics Make a Difference Week” was bleak in comparison to the “Day of Service” but the payoffs were just as rewarding. 11 students committed themselves on Oct. 23 to four hours of service at two locations: ESCAPE to the Arts and Danbury Museum and Historical Society.

Volunteers kicked off the event at 8:30 a.m. with bagels, orange juice and coffee at the faculty dining room in the Midtown Student Center. The two groups then went their separate ways at 9 a.m. to embark on a productive day of painting and working with children.

The six lovely ladies who volunteered at ESCAPE to the Arts spent their time painting the hallway leading to the classrooms.

Among the volunteers were Haley Argiento, Lindsey Englander, Krista Verrastri, Carolina Orlandi, Christina Anacta and Maria Langan.

Lindsey Englander is a freshman majoring in elementary education who says she volunteered because she had some time off and wanted to do something productive. Englander volunteers in Southbury for the Cystic Fibrosis Walk every year.

Krista Verrastri is a senior majoring in elementary education who is in the process of completing her certificate for the Leadership, Compassion and Creativity (LCC) program. Verrastri will be one of two seniors to graduate with the LCC certificate.


Students who volunteered at the museum included Fangyao Su, Xuemei Wang (Chuck), RuoHong Huang, Li Zhi Lin (Anna) and Qin Lin. The group helped children make mummy, cat and mouse pumpkins.

Fangyao Su is an international student majoring in biology, and Xuemei Wang is an exchange student from the UK majoring in business management. The group unaninmously agreed that they enjoyed working with the children because working with children teaches kindness and patience.

Everyone who volunteered said they signed up because they enjoyed the Western Day of Service so they decided to give it another try.

According to the Administrative Assistant of ESCAPE to the Arts, Joan McCaffrey, many high-school students and college interns volunteer at the organization to clean, set up classrooms, help kids with homework, and assist in activities such as painting, woodworking, printmaking and pottery.

WCSU was among 22 colleges that signed up for the week of service. The event is inspired by National Make a Difference Day, which is sponsored by USA Today. Connecticut Public Schools of Higher Education decided that one day wasn’t enough and that Connecticut schools wanted to extend it to a full week of service projects.