The 520 first-year students in the Class of 2017 painted, weeded, prepared meals, sorted clothing, and did a variety of other work to help out 15 local nonprofits as a way to introduce them to their new community.
Samantha Ross, of Blacksburg, Va., spent her morning pulling weeds at The ARC of Central Virginia, which provides services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “I think it’s kind of cool that we do so much community service, especially since we are such a small school,” Samantha said.
Jordan Banks, of Rehoboth Beach, Del., was trimming hedges. “I think it’s great we get out in the community, see different places off campus, and help some people out,” he said.
Connie Blackwell, director of operations and development at The ARC, was grateful for the help sprucing up around their building. “This type of thing, when we’re trying to serve individuals, gets put on the back burner,” she said. “Anytime we can get volunteers to help, it’s a real benefit to us.”
Kelly McCarthy, of West Chester, Pa., helped at Lynchburg Daily Bread serving drinks and plates, and also liked the idea of a day of service before classes start. “I definitely wanted to find out how to volunteer in the community,” she said.
Another group vacuumed, dusted, and cleaned glass cages at The Nature Zone, but they weren’t allowed to handle the amphibians, reptiles, and mammals that live there. Jordan Cindrick of Amherst didn’t mind that. “I’m afraid of snakes,” she said.