News and Media
New Students Make a Difference with Day of Service
Aug. 31, 2010
A new class of Oberlin students will reaffirm Oberlin College’s long-standing commitment to community service when they arrive on campus this fall. Now in its 14th year, Oberlin College’s Day of Service will welcome first-year and transfer students to engage with the Lorain County community on Saturday, September 4. About 500 students will disperse from Tappan Square to more than 30 local organizations, where they will complete community service projects and connect with other students and community members. Sponsored by the Orientation Committee and the Bonner Center for Service and Learning, Day of Service ranks highly in many students’ memories of their first weeks in Oberlin.
“Day of Service is a wonderful opportunity for incoming students to learn about the vibrant nonprofit sector in Oberlin and Lorain County,” says Beth Blissman, director of the Bonner Center. “We hope that students will then be inspired to get involved with the community beyond campus through our many curricular and co-curricular initiatives.”
Last year, 449 students and staff contributed 1,999 service hours in Oberlin and Lorain County on the Day of Service. This year, nearly half of the incoming class will participate. In a time of great need and a struggling economy, understaffed nonprofits are finding their hands even more full than usual. Community partners old and new are glad to have the extra help.
Skylar Sweetman ’11, a student participant in the 2009 Day of Service, saw firsthand the difference that was made at Common Ground, the site where she worked. “[Our community partner] told us what we did would have taken him three weeks. We really gave him a hand.” Common Ground is one of more than a dozen sites that have benefitted from Day of Service for over five years.
“In addition to strengthening our relationships with long-standing community partners, we are forging connections with new organizations. I’m excited about the new sites we’re working with this year,” says Christina Pope ’10, this year’s Day of Service coordinator. Among the first-time sites are Lorain County Community College, where students will work in the campus gardens; Eden Vision, a local foods and mentoring initiative in Elyria; and the Oberlin Police Department.
“We are looking forward to having the Oberlin students here on campus and sharing our ‘Garden Excitement’ with them,” said Lorain County Community College AmeriCorps VISTA member Julia Provoznik. Other sites where students will help out this year include Full Circle Fuels, the Ninde Scholars Program, and the George Jones Farm.