(Originally posted on The Sojourn’s website on September 4, 2015)
The 789 freshmen and transfer students hit the streets Sept. 4 to help out Grant County citizens and businesses after a week on campus participating in New Student Orientation.
Together they performed 95 intentional acts of kindness around the county in honor of the school’s 95th anniversary.
First year students arrived at IWU Aug. 29 for a week of activities and events to familiarize themselves with campus, peers and professors.
For IWU administrators, learning to serve the community was another important aspect of the week, Vice President of Life Calling and Integrative Learning Brandon Hill said.
“I think service is really two-fold,” Hill said. “One is that it helps people learn to serve, and it gives us a heart for the community that we live in, but obviously we don’t want to just serve for the sake of service; we want to actually help people do things.”
Executive Vice President Dr. Keith Newman generated the idea for NSO students to do one act of kindness for every year the school has been in session, according to Hill.
Painting, weed pulling, cleaning and spending time with residents of Colonial Oaks were among the several good deeds IWU students were able to do.
Transfer student Patrick Rader (so) clear-coated benches on the Square downtown. A Maryland native, he said he sees a lot of charm in Marion.
“I’m glad there’s a school here like IWU that’s so willing to serve and help out this community because I really do like it,” Rader said.
Students like Kelsey Boles (fr) enjoyed painting ceilings at Club Judo in Marion.
“It’s a lot of work, but just to know we can help out the community, it’s a lot of fun,” Boles said.
NSO week also included movie nights, lawn parties, chapel sessions and other activities.
Freshman Zoey Russ enjoyed going to the 1980s-themed dance party and playing games in the Recreation Center this week.
“It’s been so awesome,” Russ said. “Some people are saying it feels kind of like a summer camp, but I do kind of like that because it gives you time to meet new people and to [have] fellowship before classes start.”
Hill hopes to plan 96 acts of kindness for next year’s NSO.
“I don’t know that we’re making any big difference today, but I think we’re making a whole bunch of little differences,” Hill said. “Just a lot of little things that I think will have a long-term effect.”