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 602 members of the Class of 2016 who began their five-day Orientation Aug. 24, one line from the alma mater’s second stanza rang true almost immediately:
"We’ll give the world our service…”
F&M’s newest class of students participated in a community-service event during Orientation on Saturday, Aug. 25, in neighborhoods throughout Lancaster. Students swept litter, weeded gardens, painted walls and performed 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 wanted 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.”
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 addressed the volunteers in the Alumni Sports & Fitness Center Aug. 25 to kick off the community-service event before students headed to their project locations.
“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.”
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.