(Pictured above: Grant Sichel ’21, Jon Caruso ’19, Alexis Mason ’21 and Noelle Lines ’03/’11)
Knitting and technology doesn’t have a whole lot in common. That is unless you visit Ohio Dominican University’s library and stop by the Computer Helpdesk.
Largely staffed by students who have an interest in technology, the Helpdesk is usually the go-to place for ODU students, faculty and staff to receive help with computer- and network-related issues. But alongside computer monitors, phones and a variety of IT tools, are spools of yarn. Each of these spools is being used by a student worker to knit hats and scarves of all sizes, designs and colors. These items will eventually be given to someone who doesn’t have a home.
The students began knitting these hats and scarves toward the end of fall semester, when campus traditionally begins to grow quiet in the days leading up to Christmas break. The group was inspired to take up the hobby after ODU’s assistant director of IT, Noelle Lines, mentioned to them that her family was planning to knit these items to include in care packages for Columbus’ homeless population.
“Community is one of the pillars of the Dominican tradition,” said Lines, a 2003 and 2011 graduate of ODU. “I have always identified with the mission of the University and the Dominican motto, ‘to contemplate truth and to share with others the fruits of this contemplation.’ I share the fruits of my knowledge with anyone who would like to learn, especially students, because I learn so much from them and I want to give them all I can to prepare them for life when they leave ODU.”
Lines, who has knitted for years, provided the looms and yarn, and, in between service calls for computer and network help, taught each student how to knit. Each hat takes about 20 minutes to make. So far, the group has created about 40 of them between classes and on their own free time.
“When you have down time while on break, there's no reason not to do something good for others,” said Grant Sichel ’21, a Computer Science major. “We're just doing our part to help those who are less fortunate get through these tough winters.”
The group plans to continue knitting through most of 2019, with the hopes of donating upward to 500 hats and scarves by next Thanksgiving.
“Giving back to people in need is always something I’ve thought was important,” said Skyler Vance ’20, who is double majoring in Biology and Chemistry. “Having the opportunity to work with a great group of people to make a difference makes it that much more special.”
“I felt it was important to participate in this project because it is so easy to get distracted by the things we have that we tend to forget about the people who don't have anything,” said Alexis Mason ’21, who is double majoring in Business Administration and Public Relations & Marketing Communications. “I am fortunate to have access to a great education and the things I need to live a healthy life, and giving back to those in need is a way of reminding myself that I have a larger purpose in life.”
In addition to Vance, Sichel, and Mason, other students participating in the project include Jon Caruso ’19 and Lorelei Theve ’22