RIT students deliver cookies to first responders

Messenger Post Media
Monroe County Post

When students in Rochester Institute of Technology’s hospitality and tourism management clubs realized COVID-19 restrictions would prevent them from executing their annual Valentine’s Day fundraiser dinner, they decided to redirect their efforts to give back to the community.

Students within RIT’s three hospitality clubs — Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals, American Hotel & Lodging Association, and the Eta Sigma Delta honor society — baked and delivered cookies to first responders at Strong Memorial Hospital and Unity Hospital.

“We had a meeting with our advisers, and realized we had an amazing opportunity to use our resources and time to give back to first responders,” HFTP President Ndidi Chimah said. “We also thought baking and packaging cookies would be a great way to bring our members together safely, which we haven’t been able to do much of this year.”

Students volunteered their time off during one of three Recharge Days offered by RIT this semester. They gathered in Henry’s Kitchen to bake.

“Even with busy schedules, the students decided to make good use of the Recharge Day to gather, in compliance with pandemic protocols, to complete this mission,” said Jerrie Hsieh, faculty adviser and associate professor in the Department of International Hospitality and Service Innovation. “Thirteen students volunteered to help. They began at 9 a.m. and finished at 3 p.m. They were exhausted, but I could see the pride on their faces after they made 1,000 cookies for their heroes. I know they all feel great knowing their handmade cookies may cheer up the hospital workers.”

Students hope this initiative will encourage others to give back to their communities, not only during pandemic times, but every day.

“We realized it took a pandemic for us to really appreciate our first responders like we should,” Chimah said. “Our hope is that, as a community, we all take it upon ourselves to continue giving back and giving appreciation where it’s due. First responders, teachers, professors, grocery store clerks and so many others are keeping the world running. They really do deserve all our appreciation.”

RIT hospitality students bake 1,000 cookies for first responders at Unity and Strong Memorial hospitals.