Penn State DuBois Students Serve Community on Outreach Day
Students, faculty, and staff members of Penn State DuBois spent Friday, August 24, volunteering at businesses and charitable organizations throughout DuBois and neighboring communities for the annual Outreach Day. Outreach Day is part of New Student Orientation at the campus, and each freshman has the option to participate. The outreach activities give students the opportunity to help others through volunteering, while they build their own team working skills and get to know their new classmates.
"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 Assistant Director of Student Affairs Marly Doty. "What better way to get involved than by giving back to our surrounding communities?"
Students volunteered at more than a dozen sites, and performed a variety of tasks to suit the needs of the organizations they visited. Between the students who participated, their faculty and staff guides, and the student orientation leaders, 171 people completed a combined total of 513 service hours on Friday.
At Rumbarger Cemetery in DuBois, students straightened grave markers that had toppled, or sunken into the ground, and participated in general landscaping and clean up.
"We get a lot of jobs done that we otherwise just could not get done [without the students]," said Paul Sprague, president of the Rumbarger Cemetery Preservation Society. "What we lack is volunteers to actually do the work, and these students are helping to do the work that needs done. This builds on what the last group did, and will leave things better for the next group. Every little bit helps, and eventually, all will be done."
At the Reitz Theater in DuBois, students helped to organize costumes and props for the community theater group. They also helped maintain the outside landscaping, and pulled weeds around the building.
"It's a great bonus for us," said Terry Swope, a member of the Reitz Theater Board of Directors. "We're an all-volunteer operation, and we sometimes get behind in our chores. It's great to have some young people come in and help. We can also introduce them to our theater programs, and maybe get them involved down the road."
Freshman Vincent Mammone, of DuBois, volunteered at the theater. He said it was a great cause, and that working with his fellow students helped to start the building of strong relationships. Mammone said, "It's nice to be able to volunteer for something like this. It's a big part of the culture in town. We also get to work together as a team, and that's a real good way to get to know each other."
Louise Whyte, a student orientation leader now in her senior year, has taken advantage of volunteer opportunities throughout her student career. She said the experiences get more rewarding as time goes on, and that she gains more understanding with each outreach project she completes.
"When you first volunteer, it's hard to see the impact you have made. But afterward, when you think about it, no matter how insignificant you think it is, the work you did is significant to someone."
Outreach Day is the first of many service events that new Penn State DuBois students will have the chance to participate in. Student clubs and organizations make community outreach and service a priority among their activities. Last year, students completed a total of more than 10,000 hours of volunteer work.