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Community-Service Project Highlights New Student Orientation

It is tradition for first-year students at Franklin & Marshall College to learn the words to the F&M alma mater at New Student Orientation. For the 604 members of the Class of 2016 who begin their five-day Orientation Aug. 24, one line from the alma mater's second stanza will ring true almost immediately:

"We’ll give the world our service…"

F&M’s newest class of students will participate in a community-service event during Orientation on Saturday, Aug. 25, in neighborhoods throughout Lancaster. Students will sweep litter, weed gardens, paint walls and perform a variety of other tasks at 24 locations in a project designed by a group of upperclass F&M students serving as Orientation Planning Directors.

"We want to show first-year students that we’re living not only in the F&M community but also the Lancaster community," said Dan Miller '13, who planned the service event with fellow planning directors Ali Biber '14, Matt Haller '14 and Hannah Wolf '14. "We were inspired by the alma mater to design this project in the Lancaster community."

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  • Upper-class F&M students help first-year students unpack their belongings on move-in day on Aug. 26, 2011. Similar scenes will occur around the F&M campus on Aug. 24, 2012, when members of the Class of 2016 arrive for New Student Orientation. (Photo by Eric Forberger)

The planning team modeled the service event in the mold of TeamWork, an annual program in which F&M student-athletes perform community-service projects throughout the James Street Improvement District in Lancaster.

"F&M isn’t in a bubble, and it’s important that all students learn how to interact with our community and be good neighbors," Haller said. "We want to be courteous of the people living in the neighborhoods around campus."

State Rep. Mike Sturla will speak to the Class of 2016 in the Alumni Sports & Fitness Center at 2:15 p.m. Aug. 25 to kick off the community-service event before students head to their project locations.

The service project is only one aspect of New Student Orientation, which introduces first-year students to the academic and extracurricular sides of the College. The comprehensive Orientation schedule is designed to help students adjust to life in F&M’s College Houses, meet their academic advisers and participate in a range of College-themed activities.

The schedule kicks off Aug. 24 with move-in day, when hundreds of upper-class student volunteers, faculty members and professional staff will help the incoming students move into their College Houses. Orientation culminates with Convocation, a ceremony honoring the incoming class and celebrating the beginning of students’ academic careers at F&M, at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28, on Manning Alumni Green.

First-year students will meet some of their professors on the first day of Orientation when they visit the homes of faculty members for dinner. F&M professors also play a key role in Orientation through an annual program called House Fellows, in which faculty members deliver lectures about readings assigned to students in each College House. Leading this year’s program are Alison Kibler, associate professor of American studies and women’s and gender studies; Stephen Medvic, associate professor of government; Patricia O’Hara, professor of English; Amelia Rauser, associate professor of art history; and Matt Schousen, professor of government.

Other highlights of Orientation include sessions on academic etiquette, a carnival on Hartman Green and dinners in the College Houses.

Joining Biber, Haller, Miller and Wolf as planning directors are Babe Berry '14, Caitlin Brust '14, Andre Douglas '15, Greg Duckloe '13, Katie Shikora '14 and Ross Silverberg '13. The Orientation planning team also includes the five College House prefects and Kelly Kennedy ’04, director of College programs. The team works under the guidance of the five faculty dons and Steven O’Day, senior associate dean of the College.

For the planning directors, planning the event brings back memories of their own New Student Orientation at F&M.

"I remember being overwhelmed, but really happy," Wolf said. "It was one of the most important times of my college career."

Added Biber: "I remember having lots of fun singing the alma mater."