Campus Currents

Turning Up the Heat
A UNH Manchester effort distributes warm clothing.

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Warmth from the Millyard/Sheena Connolly '08
Bridget Finnegan

In the fall of 2008, Sheena Connolly '08 was working full time as a supervisor at the Bedford, N.H., toll plaza. She was also working on UNH Manchester's second annual warm-clothing drive, through a community leadership class she was taking. The drive, Warmth from the Millyard, had provided 800 items of clothing for those in need in the Manchester area the previous year. But Connolly, a communication arts major, had a brainstorm. If her fellow employees at the New Hampshire Department of Transportation joined the effort, the project could go statewide. She started with toll plaza staff and then expanded the effort a year later to include all of N.H. DOT.

That's just one example of the ways in which students have helped Warmth from the Millyard, which has been described as the "signature initiative" of UNH Manchester, extend its reach every year. This past fall, the class decided to kick off the drive, and raise awareness of homelessness, with a "sleep out" in October. The course, says instructor Ginger Hobbs Lever '02G, '07G, is designed to show students what they can accomplish with their own "knowledge, wisdom and experience"—whether their expertise is in computer science, marketing, poetry or photography—when they work together.

The project, adds Lever, is particularly suited to the small UNH Manchester campus, where "we are able to span boundaries" both on campus and beyond. This year, a biology class has studied the effects of cold on the human body for, example, and an a cappella singing group held a benefit concert for the cause. Students in previous years have upped community involvement by enlisting the efforts of local elementary schools and high schools.

The results speak for themselves. More and more hats, mittens, snow pants and coats are donated and distributed every year—for a combined total of 50,000 items since 2007.

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