Franklin & Marshall students and staff roll up their sleeves – quite literally – to plant trees, create pollinator habitats, and better Lancaster’s forested lands and waterways.
A campuswide community service series, launched this fall by The Ware Institute for Civic Engagement, provides monthly service project opportunities for students and staff to tackle together.
“There's a big emphasis on broadening our opportunities for the F&M community to engage with the City of Lancaster and really create this culture of philanthropy and service,” said Jennifer Nell, assistant director at Ware Institute.
Volunteers gather every third Friday of the month for a three-hour project. Groups are capped at 30 people.
Generally limited to students and staff, the series’ most recent service event included alumni and student families during True Blue Weekend. Volunteers gathered in nearby Mount Joy to help Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay volunteers plant trees and convert an unused lawn area to natural habitat.
“I love that we're broadening the volunteer base,” Nell said.
Ware is among the several College organizations that offer such opportunities to students.
For the series’ inaugural event in September, students and staff joined the Lancaster Conservancy to help maintain a pollinator park at Kellys Run Trail. Planning for a November project with Lancaster Conservancy is underway, in addition to spring projects with various other community partners.
For first-year students like Kat Patitucci, the series provides a way to connect with the Lancaster community beyond campus borders.
“Building a deep relationship with my community in high school fostered my growth and development as a person,” said Patitucci, a Ware Institute intern.
Community service has always been embedded in the student experience at F&M. Patitucci participated in PIT (Putting It Together in the Community), a first-year pre-orientation program for students involved in community service, leadership development and civic engagement.
From the construction of city rain gardens to annual Public Service Summer Institute (PSSI) opportunities, F&M provides ample opportunity to connect students with local nonprofit or government entities.
“F&M has such positive relationships with so many key community stakeholders,” Nell said.
“There's a big emphasis on broadening our opportunities for the F&M community to engage with the City of Lancaster and really create this culture of philanthropy and service."