300 Students Take the Plunge into Community Service

Twenty-two student mentors lead new students in volunteer projects
Huntington, Ind.—Hundreds of Huntington College students will spend Tuesday morning (Sept. 4, 2001) reaching out to those in need. Nineteen teams of freshmen and transfer students will participate in the Eighth Annual Volunteer Plunge, a half-day of community service held each year in conjunction with Huntington College's new student orientation.

“By having the Volunteer Plunge, our students are shown that the school and the student body is – and needs to be – connected to the community,” said Dr. Norris Friesen, vice president for student development. “This is an act of putting feet to our faith. The students also get to know each other and work together in an informal setting. This is what the Plunge is all about.”

Over 300 students will volunteer their time to help the community on Sept. 4. At 8:30 a.m., the freshmen, transfers, 22 student mentors, and various faculty and staff will gather to receive their assignments. Nineteen teams will scatter from 9 a.m. to noon to help in places such as Thornhill Nature Preserve, United Way, Boys and Girls Club, Dan Quayle Center and Museum, Huntington House, Park and Recreation Department, Heritage of Huntington, Youth Services Bureau at First Baptist, Pathfinder Roanoke Group Home, Millers Merry Manor and the YMCA. Groups will also work at schools including Horace Mann Elementary, Lincoln Elementary and Riverview Junior High.

Volunteers will do a variety of tasks including painting, cleaning, landscaping, and weeding. Some special projects include making a reading garden and stenciling at the Boys and Girls Club, visiting the elderly and doing yard work at Millers Merry Manor, reorganizing the On-Your-Way-Up store of the Youth Services Bureau at First Baptist and preparing for a banquet for the United Way at Hier’s Park.

“It’s exciting to see more than 300 of our students out in the community making a positive impact. We are particularly pleased this year to be working with so many of our local schools,” said Joanne Miller, the College’s director of retention and new student programs. Miller serves as advisor to the student volunteer service.

Huntington College senior, Jami Lugbill (Pettisville, Ohio/Pettisville), appreciates the annual Plunge. “I think it is a great activity for freshmen and transfers. It is a great way for them to bond together as they serve the community in a variety of ways. I like how the activity is at the beginning of their college career, showing them that Huntington College strongly believes in service to the community, a way that we can impact the world for Christ.”

Founded in 1992, the Joe Mertz Center for Volunteer Service has become an integral part of Huntington College campus life. During the 2000-01 school year, the Joe Mertz Center documented more than 18,000 hours of volunteer service contributed by students, faculty and staff.

Huntington College’s Joe Mertz Center for Volunteer Service is a student-directed organization that mobilizes the campus community for Christian service. The Joe Mertz Center aims to involve students in the local community, instill a lifelong tendency toward service, and promote the idea that one person can make a difference. The Joe Mertz Center has been listed as an exemplary program in the John Templeton Foundation Honor Roll of Character-Building Colleges.

The mentoring program allows upper-classmen to spend a semester with incoming students. In connection with a faculty advisor, the mentor helps new students adjust to college life in their first semester at HC. Mentors meet with new students individually and as a group and are actively involved in organizing the Volunteer Plunge.

The following is a list of mentors for the incoming Huntington College students:

Name Hometown/High School Classification/Major
Julie Baker Berrien Springs, Mich./Berrien Springs SR/Elementary Education
Rachel Blue Fowlerville, Mich./Fowlerville SR/Elementary Education
Tim Caldwell Mansfield, Ohio/Mansfield Christian JR/Recreation Management
Jean Gizinski Lapeer, Mich./Lapeer SR/Business Education
Katie Harner Rockford, Mich./Rockford SR/Theatre Performance
Jennifer Herring Caledonia, Mich./Thornapple Kellogg JR/Oral Communication
Jordan Hopper Huntington, Ind./Huntington North SR/Art Education
Kati Hultman Spring Arbor, Mich./Jackson County Western JR/Music
Alicia Jester Clarklake, Mich./Jackson Baptist JR/Psychology
Jami Kelley Centreville, Mich./Centreville JR/Elementary Education
Bart Koester Watseka, Ill./Watseka JR/Youth Ministries
Sara Kunze Ossian, Ind./home school JR/Sociology
Grace McBrayer Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills SR/Youth Ministries
Abby Myers Fort Wayne, Ind./Reading (Mich.) SR/Elementary Education
Brooke Owens Kokomo, Ind./Taylor SR/Business Economics
Jordan Phillips Mansfield, Ohio/Mansfield Christian SR/Chemistry Education
Abby Rodgers Lacon, Ill./Edinburg JR/Oral Communications
Brandon Schall Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo Christian JR/Business Management
Courtney Taylor Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo Christian SR/Exercise Science
Tim Thompson Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton SR/Business Management
Keisha Vowels Holt, Mich./Holt JR/Elementary Education
Kelli Whiteman Yoder, Ind./Norwell JR/Chemistry Pre-Med

Founded in 1897, Huntington College is a Christian college of the liberal arts, offering graduate and undergraduate degrees in nearly 50 academic concentrations. US News and World Report ranks the College among the best midwestern liberal arts colleges. Huntington College has also been listed among the “201 Best Colleges for the Real World.” The Volunteer Plunge is one way Huntington College seeks to “educate men and women to impact our world for Christ.”

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Heather Barkley
Director of Communications
Joanne Green
Sports Information Director