HUNTINGTON, IN--Labor Day has passed, but for more than 300 Huntington College students, today has been set aside for a unique labor of love. Again this year, new student orientation at the Christian liberal arts college includes a half-day of community service. The Seventh Annual Volunteer Plunge is sponsored by the College's Joe Mertz Center for Volunteer Service.
A total of 240 freshman and transfer students, joined by 40 upperclass mentors and 15 campus ministry coordinators are participating in today's event. These students were organized into nine teams to complete various volunteer projects across Huntington County between 8:30 a.m. and noon.
"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," explained 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. That is what the Plunge is all about."
This year's projects include painting and moving heavy furniture at the Dan Quayle Center and Museum, landscaping and trail maintenance at Thornhill Nature Preserve, and making Northwest Elementary School's outdoor lab ready for fall instruction.
Additional Huntington College teams will tackle a variety of projects for Riverview Junior High, Huntington House, Horace Mann Elementary School, Lincoln Elementary, YMCA, and the Huntington Parks & Recreation Department
"It is 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 center.
Founded in 1992, the Joe Mertz Center for Volunteer Service has become an integral part of Huntington College campus life. During the 1999-2000 school year, the Joe Mertz Center documented more than 10,000 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.
"Service to Christ and His creation" is one of Huntington College's core values. Founded in 1897, the College offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in nearly 50 academic concentrations. Huntington College is ranked among the best midwestern liberal arts colleges by US News and World Report.
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