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A Day for Play

Dartmouth volunteers build park in Lebanon

The Riverside Community Park in Lebanon, N.H., was recently the site of an ambitious building campaign as Dartmouth students from the Alpha Delta (AD) fraternity and a host of other community members from Dartmouth and the Upper Valley pitched in to build a 2,500-square-foot playground in a single day. AD, which raised $10,000 for the effort, partnered with The Home Depot, the Lebanon Recreation and Parks Department, and organizers from the nonprofit organization KaBOOM! to build a fun and safe play space for the children and families of Lebanon.

playground openingConor Fernandez ’08 (second from left) participates in the board cutting ceremony with Lebanon, N.H., Mayor Patrick Hayes (third from left) at the new playground in Riverside Community Park. About 40 members of Fernandez’s fraternity, Alpha Delta, volunteered in the building effort. (Photo courtesy Conor Fernandez ’08)

KaBOOM!’s mission is to build 1,000 play spaces in 1,000 days, for which the organization received a $25 million commitment from The Home Depot. Fraternity member Conor Fernandez ’08, who helped spearhead AD’s involvement, explains, “AD has a long history of giving back to the community, and this project is another example of AD’s commitment to be actively involved not only on campus, but also in the surrounding communities.” Fernandez adds that, “All of the brothers were very excited about the playground build, and it strengthened our bond with each other, as well as Dartmouth’s relationship with the Upper Valley community.”

The volunteers assembled rock-climbing walls, slides, bridges, and a tire swing. (A volleyball court is scheduled to be added soon.) More than 100 volunteers participated, including approximately 40 members of AD, members of the Dartmouth rugby team, and a number of Dartmouth employees. Dartmouth Dining Services volunteered to provide breakfast and lunch to the hungry construction crew.

Although the playground was erected in one day, prior to the actual building day, team leaders got together to precut the materials for the play structures. The idea, explains Fernandez, was to avoid the need for power tools on the actual day of assembly. After the concrete was given a chance to set, community members were invited to bring their families to Riverside Park for the grand opening on Oct. 14. “There were a ton of kids on the playground,” says Fernandez. “It was great to see everyone finally using it.”

By GENEVIEVE HAAS

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Last Updated: 12/17/08