RUTLAND—Elsa’s and Anna’s trotted up the pathway, a Dalmatian sat, surrounded by glowing pumpkins on the steps, and a zombie followed, all with plastic orange pumpkins in hand.
College of St. Joseph hosted its annual trick-or-treating event for the local community on Oct. 27 as a way for children to collect candy and show off their new identities in a safe environment.
Fairies, cops, and action heroes were just a few of the many costumes, along with other creative outfits like Legos and a skid-steer. Ducks and skunks waddled across the sprawling Rutland campus, stopping at St. Joseph Hall, Tuttle Hall and the Clementwood mansion for treats and crafts.
Human services and psychology professor Carrie Becker, along with Associate Vice-President for Administrative / External Affairs Judy Morgan, and Community Engagement Coordinator Meggan Lloyd, began planning the event two months ago, with the majority of the planning being led by the college’s Human Services Club. The group met once a week for two months and enlisted the help of over 30 CSJ students, who manned candy stations and helped organize craft activities.
The club counted more than 300 students traveling to campus for the event, including busloads of children from Northeast Elementary School’s Tapestry Program and Rutland Town Elementary School.
Alysia Cole, president of the Human Services Club, initially became involved with the club because she needed an activity as a requirement for the Provider Scholarship program. Cole is very invested in her major and thought it would help to expand on her degree and play a bigger part in the community, she said. The community is the real reason why she enjoyed organizing and participating in the Halloween event so much.
“It allows students working towards a degree to integrate into the community while pursuing a degree,” said Cole. “It also allows the students on campus to give back to the community in a way that benefits both the students and the children in the community by giving them a safe place to trick-or-treat.”
The Provider Scholarship Program offers $65,000 over four years for residential students and asks students to participate in a campus activity and complete community service hours.
This is Becker’s first year helping to organize the event. While it was great to see the community come out, the real reward, she said, was interacting with CSJ students.
“My role as adviser provides a great opportunity to develop relationships with students outside of the classroom,” Becker said. “I’m so inspired by their success in planning and carrying out such an ambitious goal as providing a terrific four-hour event to hundreds of community children.”