While upperclassmen return to campus after summer break, several first-year students ventured off the Hill to complete a variety of service projects within walking distance of campus.
Over 70 McDaniel students participated in the fourth annual Community Service Plunge on the morning of Aug. 25, an event sponsored by the new Center for Experience and Opportunity (CEO).
“It’s a really good learning experience, especially for first-year students,” said Sara Krome, recent McDaniel graduate and Associate Director of Community Outreach and Initiatives at the CEO. Krome is the person responsible for the organization of this event.
She explained that the event helps get first-year students off campus and into the community for possibly the first time since they moved in, which helps give them an awareness of what the community has to offer.
Students are led to their destinations by peer mentors, who Krome describes as instrumental to the success of the event, because they are familiar with the area and bring a lot of energy.
This year, students worked with Shepherd’s Staff, the Westminster Street Department, the Carroll Arts Council, and the Boys and Girls Club of Westminster, with which McDaniel College has a partnership.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Krome. “It’s a great way to spend your first Saturday on campus.”
The student volunteers work with these local organizations to beautify the streets, help with back to school projects, mulch local parks, as well as fulfill a variety of other needs.
First-year student Natia Jackson, who worked on cleaning the Boys and Girls Club kitchen, explained that she participated in the Plunge because she “was always interested in community service, even in high school…It’s always good to give back.”
Increasing numbers of students over the past few years share her views. Krome said that every year, participation increases, with this year’s numbers being the highest ever.
“There’s more and more enthusiasm for service, and I think that’s reflected in our numbers,” she said.
In past years, many work study positions at the Boys and Girls Club have been filled by students who had previously participated in the event.
Krome says that any student interested in community service should come see her in the CEO.
“However they want it to work, we can make it work,” said Krome.