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May 12, 2011

Stanford alumni around the world participating in May 14 day of service

The Stanford Alumni Association created the program, Beyond the Farm, to extend the university's spirit of service to communities around the world.

Alumni gather after a day of planting at a coastal national park during the 2010 Beyond the Farm event. (Photo courtesy of Stanford Alumni Association)

More than 1,600 Stanford alumni, family and friends will participate Saturday in public service projects across the country – from California to New York – and in seven locations around the world.

Stanford graduates have organized service projects in 21 states under Beyond the Farm, a program created last year as a pilot project by the Stanford Alumni Association.

The group expanded the event this year to include volunteers around the world.

Alumni have organized public service projects in seven foreign locations – Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Nigeria, Turkmenistan and Wales. In Italy, they will join Angels of Beauty, a citizen volunteer group, and help remove graffiti from ancient buildings and street shrines in the historic center of Florence, a World Heritage site.

All told, they have planned 150 public service projects for the May 14 event. In many cases, the Stanford graduates have paired up with nonprofit groups led by fellow alumni.

They are helping kids – sorting and packing art supplies for 1,000 classrooms for Art in Action, reading to elementary school children, and sprucing up playgrounds with Playworks in Oakland and the East Bay.

They are caring for the environment – weeding, mulching and cleaning up trash at the Rhododendron Glen in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, removing invasive plants around Longfellow Creek in Seattle, and cleaning beaches in Woods Hole, Mass.

They are helping people – polishing resumes for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in New York City, pulling weeds and cleaning a women's shelter in Chicago, and doing home repair projects for low-income seniors in Atlanta.

"Create change while having a great time getting to know alumni – right in your backyard," the association said on its Beyond the Farm website.

More than half of the service projects will take place in California:

  • In Los Angeles, they will harvest fruit at a local orange grove, working with Food Forward, which harvests locally grown food from private homes and public spaces to distribute to local food pantries and other organizations.
  • In Sunnyvale, Pamela Matson, dean of the Stanford University School of Earth Sciences, will join alumni volunteers preparing Full Circle Farm – an 11-acre sustainable, educational farm – for spring planting.
  • In San Diego, Deborah Stipek, dean of the Stanford University School of Education, will give a talk, "Motivating Children to Learn," at a neighborhood library. After her talk, alumni will read books with children, help set up email accounts, and help clean and organize the library.



Kathleen J. Sullivan, Stanford News Service: (650) 724-5708,


Katherine Toy, Alumni Volunteer Engagement, Stanford Alumni Association: (650) 721-6313,

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