Shippensburg University held its annual Fall Day of Service Saturday, at which almost 250 volunteers served various local organizations from food banks to community parks.
SU students, faculty and staff took buses to 17 organizations including the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Renfrew Park in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, and the Shippensburg Historical Society as part of the day dedicated to giving back.
Of the volunteers, 220 were students. Many of them were students who came with their professors as part of their first-year seminar.
Javita Thompson, director of first-year experience and community engagement, said the volunteers went out across Franklin, Cumberland and Adams counties.
On campus, volunteers helped to clear brush from Shippensburg’s portion of the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail.
Thompson said one of the highlights of the day was that volunteers harvested 145 pounds of tomatoes and 1,300 pounds of potatoes at the Gleaning Project.
After a morning of service, the volunteers returned to campus and had a lunchtime reflection on how the day of service had gone.
The reflection served as an opportunity for students and faculty to share their experiences — what they enjoyed about it and what they had learned through volunteering, according to Thompson.
The Fall Day of Service is an outlet for students, especially new students, to explore and make connections within their community, Thompson said.
When asked about what she most wants students, faculty and staff to know about the day of service, Thompson spoke of the “connections” formed.
“When faculty and students get involved together, they are able to see each other in a different light which helps students create a humanistic connection with their professors,” she said.
Thompson noted that students getting involved in their community is vital for students to form an extended family at college.
This also helps them balance their academic and social lives. The opportunities to volunteer on campus will continue throughout the academic year.
Next month, SU will host “Treats not Tricks,” trick-or-treating event in Old Main on Oct. 21. In November, they will have the Angel Tree project, at which students have the opportunity to buy a gift for an underprivileged child.