On October 6, 2012 the brothers of Alpha Delta colony hosted Be The Change for the first time on the campus of The College of New Jersey. This national service event, originally inspired by South Asian-Americans Leading Together (SAALT), honors not only the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, but his ideals as well. Be The Change at TCNJ served as an outlet for college students to give back to the Trenton community based on Mahatma Gandhi’s inspirational quote, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
The morning began with a hearty breakfast donated by Sodexo, a national sponsor of SAALT. Thirty college students from various organizations across the campus gathered together in the Student Center, ready to join the hundreds of participants across the country also performing service that day. The room grew silent as keynote speaker Karina Lopez-Hernandez’s moving words filled the air. A Bonner Service Scholar, Karina had not only grown up in the Trenton community, but had also sacrificed countless hours of service giving back to it as well. In doing so, she had come to the realization that just a single person could still make a huge impact. With these words in mind, the volunteers headed to the Shiloh Baptist Church, located in the heart of Trenton.
After these inspirational words, the group headed to the Shiloh Baptist Church to start their day of service. This involved cleaning up the surrounding Trenton area and clearing an overridden garden. In return for their efforts, the volunteers were treated to a lunch paid for by the church. This meal also featured local legislators and assemblywomen as guests.
At the conclusion of the day, the students were addressed by Revered Daniel Armstrong of the Shiloh Baptist Church:
“I would like to take this moment to thank the volunteers that came out today for their service and dedication to the Trenton community. The Shiloh Baptist Church is truly grateful for the help we have received as well as the relationship we have established with the students at The College of New Jersey. We look forward to strengthening this bond for years to come. “
When asked about his experience at Be the Change, Ravi Shah, President of Delta Epsilon Psi at The College of New Jersey, offered some words that truly reflected the atmosphere of the day and goals for the future:
“Be The Change was the perfect way to not only honor a man whose influence changed world, but also reestablish a sense of unity between The College of New Jersey and the Trenton area. I see this day of service as a way for us to recognize that we are not two separate communities but a single inter-dependent one.”