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Outreach Day: Penn State DuBois Students Serve their Community

President of the Rumbarger Cemetery Preservation Society, Paul Sprague (right) points out a difficult-to-read-epitaph on an old head stone to students Mary Transue (front) and Rachael Wells. The students spent the day deciphering the engravings.
8/22/2011 —

Following the long tradition of service throughout its 76 year history, Penn State DuBois reached out to the community to give back with Outreach Day. As part of new student orientation this year, the Student Life Office organized Outreach Day, which put 180 students, plus faculty and staff leaders, out into the community to help with various projects at businesses, charitable organizations, and public ventures.  The students volunteered at more than a dozen sites, ranging from humane societies, to preschools. 


"Getting students actively involved from the beginning is very important to their overall college experience, and helping them become well-rounded members of the community," said Student Life Coordinator Marly Doty.  "What better way to get involved than by giving back to our surrounding community,"  


Students Mary Transue, of Kittanning, and Rachael Wells, of Reynoldsville, volunteered at the historic Rumbarger Cemetery in DuBois, which has graves dating back to the 1870's.  While some students in this group helped with landscaping duties, Transue and Wells worked to identify the names and information of some of the oldest headstones, which have been worn by the elements over the years.


"A lot of it, you just can't read any more," said president of the Rumbarger Cemetery Preservation Society, Paul Sprague.  "By carefully studying these and recording the information, we can preserve this history, and help people who may be doing family research."


"I feel like I'm helping a lot," Wells said of her experience during the Outreach Day.  "I feel like I can really make a difference by being a part of this." 


Campus Chancellor Anita McDonald led a group who volunteered at the DuBois Historical Society.  The group helped to clean the society's vast collection of local artifacts.  According to society members, that's one of the most important parts of maintaining their collection. 


"One of the hardest jobs is keeping the place clean," said DuBois Historical Society President Evo Fracchine.  "We're grateful and thankful for these students, and I'm quite pleased with them.  They've worked really hard." 


Jessica Noland, a student orientation leader who helped to clean the historical society's displays, said the hard work was worth it.  "I think this is part of the college experience.  This is one great way to see how we can improve the community, not only through our education, but also through our ability to assist others." 


McDonald worked alongside Noland cleaning the exhibits.  McDonald spoke for all groups at all sites during the Outreach Day, saying, "This experience really helps the students understand the challenges that people face every day in our communities, and demonstrates for them the value in helping and giving back.  They learn quickly that what they do can have a positive effect, and will benefit others." 


"By participating in this community outreach, my hope is that students will feel more a part of Penn State DuBois, DuBois and the surrounding area, and become more socially responsible," Doty said.  "It's also a great way to help people in our area who could use a few extra hands."



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