NIU thanks community for Feb. 14 support on NIU Cares Day


Volunteers gave back to the DeKalb and Sycamore community Saturday through gardening, landscaping, painting and cleaning outdoors.

The second year of NIU Cares Day began with 80 organizations and groups and about 1,500 students meeting in the Chick Evans Field House for registration and T-shirt pick up.

Brian Hemphill, vice president of Student Affairs, said the event was a powerful partnership between the community and volunteers.

“Make a difference in the lives of others,” Hemphill said to the crowd. “Make today special because [the community] does it all year round.”

NIU President John Peters said the DeKalb and Sycamore community provided NIU with comfort after the Feb. 14 shootings.

“When we had our tragedy, the word went out to every corner of the world and the association with DeKalb and Sycamore shared our grief,” Peters said. “Thank them all from the bottom of our hearts. Let’s go forward, together forward.”

DeKalb mayor Frank Van Buer said the community is part of the NIU family.

“Our community is based on volunteers,” Van Buer said.

The volunteers traveled to on- and off-campus destinations such as TAILS, the YMCA, DeKalb Area Women’s Center, Salvation Army and the DeKalb Park District, said Becky Harlow, assistant director of Student Involvement and Leadership Development.

Freshman communication major Mazen Rimawi said the event was a way for him to share with the community.

“The school has given me a lot of opportunities and I want to help and give back to the community,” Rimawi said.

Riddhi Trivedi, a senior nutrition and dietetics major, said the event was to help the community and to meet new people.

“It is totally new and I am so excited ‘cause there are so much volunteers,” Trivedi said. “I think I can help someone and make new friends.”

Harlow hoped the volunteers gave back to the DeKalb and Sycamore community.

“The event is a way for the NIU community to say thank you for all of the community’s support,” she said.