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F&M's Class of 2016 Makes Good First Impression on New Home

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    • Approximately 650 Franklin & Marshall College students, including the 602 members of the Class of 2016, gather in the Alumni Sports & Fitness Center Saturday before heading out for a citywide cleanup effort (Photo by Eric Forberger).

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    • State Rep. Mike Sturla talks to the assembled F&M students about volunteer opportunities in the city and thanks them for the work they are about to perform (Photo by Eric Forberger).

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    • Patrick Sheil '15 (left) and Gordon Heller '16 collect discarded bottles along the 300 block of North Prince Street (Photo by Eric Forberger).

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    • A group of first-year students from Bonchek College House march up Walnut Street in search of litter and recyclables (Photo by Eric Forberger).

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    • F&M students meet up with a group of Millersville University students, in yellow, who were downtown for a community service project of their own (Photo by Eric Forberger).

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    • Ellen Hendrix '16 (left) places litter in a bag held by Rachel Kanen '16 during a cleanup of a parking lot at the corner of Queen and Lemon streets (Photo by Eric Forberger).

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A wave of blue and white swept through the streets of Lancaster Saturday afternoon, leaving a spruced-up city in its wake.

Approximately 650 Franklin & Marshall College students, including all 602 members of the Class of 2016, participated in the community service event as part of Orientation Weekend. The students, the majority of whom sported blue-and-white F&M gear, picked up garbage, recycled glass and plastic containers and weeded gardens, among other tasks.

It was the first time an entire incoming class came together to perform a community service event.

"We hope to instill something that grows through the years, so F&M students will continue to serve the community," said Hannah Wolf '14, who planned the service event with fellow planning directors Ali Biber '14, Matt Haller '14 and Dan Miller '13.

The students assembled at 2:15 p.m. Saturday in the Alumni Sports & Fitness Center. Senior Associate Dean of the College Steve O'Day welcomed them and thanked them for continuing the College's longstanding tradition of civic engagement (more than three-quarters of F&M students engage in some type of community service during their undergraduate years).

State Rep. Mike Sturla, who represents Lancaster and parts of neighboring Lancaster and Manheim townships, told the students they are a vital part of the fabric of the community and urged them to remain involved throughout their time here.

"We have a lot of wealth in this community, but we also have a lot of people in need," Sturla said. He pointed to data his office collected showing that at some point in their lives, one in 11 children in the School District of Lancaster will be homeless. "So if you want to go (into a school) and read a book to them or tutor them, it would be greatly appreciated."

With that, the students gathered into groups of between 12 and 20 and set out to discover—and improve—their new home.

Staff writer Chris Karlesky '01 contributed to this report.