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September 26, 2019

By Kevin Ko-wen Chen, Communications Manager

This year’s Homecoming, on Saturday, September 28, promises to be another celebration of Orange Pride. But along with the sports games, the food, and the gathering of community, the latest iteration of the Ethical Culture Fieldston School’s largest event will boast a new feature: a Homecoming Sock Drive.

We wanted to give students other opportunities to show school spirit through service.

Socks are the most requested items at homeless shelters and rehabilitation centers. When Nancy Oti, Director of Special Events, and Muriel Isaac, Director of Alumni Relations, were brainstorming ways to tie in the celebratory nature of Homecoming with something more aligned with the school’s philanthropic mission, a sock drive seemed like a natural fit. “We wanted to give students other opportunities to show school spirit through service,” says Oti. “One of the best ways is something that’s low logistics, not complicated, and something that people in our local neighborhood can benefit from.”

Oti and Isaac partnered with Shelley Topping-Omodunbi’s Community Service Advisory Board In-Training (CSAB-IT) students to help spread the word. On a Monday afternoon, Oti and Isaac presented to the class, describing their inspiration, their communications strategy, and the process by which they brought the drive to fruition. The Fieldston Upper School students, in turn, offered feedback, suggesting places to position donation boxes to optimize visibility. An email the students sent on Saturday, September 21, solicited donations from faculty and peers.

A testament to the spirit of giving that inspires ECFS students even after they graduate, the Homecoming Sock Drive will be met with a matching offer, thanks to the generosity of an alum. Sam Ravetz ’11, Community and Giving Manager at sock and apparel brand Bombas, is sponsoring a one-to-one match — up to 2,500 pairs of socks. Isaac, who collaborated with Ravetz on a spring alumni social, is grateful for the support: “I reached out initially just for guidance in terms of community service partners. He just took it upon himself to donate the 2,500 pairs of socks.”

From now until Saturday, September 28, large orange plastic bins will sit in the main lobby at Ethical Culture, outside Principal Joe McCauley’s office at Fieldston Lower, beside the 1st floor Academic Center in the Fieldston Middle School, and in the Fieldston Upper School Student Commons and dining room. The bins were placed by CSAB-IT students who practically ran through the hallways to deliver their goods — an enthusiasm for service work that will lead our students for years to come.