By Kate Collins
U-ReBloom is a community service-based club at Union, currently being revamped by Allie Novak ’17 and Natalia Pronchick ’17.
U-ReBloom is reaching out to the community to spread some positivity. The organization was started by Judith Ainlay, wife of Union President Stephen C. Ainlay, when she was inspired by the national organization Random Acts of Flowers.
Random Acts of Flowers is a nonprofit organization that recycles and repurposes flowers by engaging volunteer teams to deliver bouquets to individuals in health-care facilities across the country.
The organization operates under the premise that “a positive attitude quickens healing time and reduces the amount of pain, anxiety and fatigue associated with illness,” according to the Random Acts of Flowers website. The hope is that by bringing some color and life to those patients who have been in some facet of health care, patients’ days will be brighter.
U-ReBloom follows this same model, as they use recycled flowers from events around campus and then deliver them to various nursing homes around Schenectady, such as Baptist, Glendale and the Heritage Home.
By reusing these flowers, U-ReBloom not only supports community members, but also the environment.
“I think it’s important that students see the importance of reusing items because it promotes sustainability, which everyone should care about in our generation since we are the ones who will be dealing with the majority of climate issues,” Allie Novak stated.
She continued, “It is even more important when the reused things can be used positively, and hopefully our club will inspire students to look to find creative ways to be sustainable and reuse items from the world around them to make a difference on campus.”
The ultimate goal of the club is to cheer up elderly people who are living in the area’s nursing homes.
Allie Novak and Natalia Pronchick got involved in U-ReBloom after having experience working with the elderly in high school. Kenney Center’s Angela Tatem pointed them in the direction of U-ReBloom when the two were seeking out some form of community service here at Union.
Novak remarked, “It is truly amazing to see how such a small gift, such as flowers, can really brighten the residents’ days, as well as how surprised they are to experience a random act of kindness. The people in the nursing homes are absolutely delighted and surprised to get flowers and interact with young people. They are so happy to know that people are thinking of them and have people come and talk and listen to them, especially when a lot of them do not have any family left.”
Novak also noted that the experience is low-commitment and highly rewarding, making it a great activity that students should try to participate in once a week, or even every once in a while.“It is very important that Union students stay involved in the community of Schenectady,” Novak continued, “It is almost a duty; since we are so privileged to go to Union and are given so many resources, the least we can do is give back to the community that surrounds us.”
According to Pronchick, the club “usually has eight to 10 people come, and so far it’s been a great experience. People were really pleasantly surprised that we were delivering flowers.” Novake and Pronchick hope to have more people join U-ReBloom in the future.