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Freshmen Earn their Green Thumbs

By Morgan Kashinsky

Staff Writer

While many students were enjoying a day without classes on Friday, Oct. 5, nine freshmen got to work for the community.

Freshmen worked alongside faculty and the grounds crew in gardening service learning project.
Photos by Shawn Welnak

Every year, the freshman service learning project allows first years to give back to their community. For 2018, their project was updating the garden behind the Winnick Mansion.

Led by peer mentors Chana Hancox, sophomore business management major, and Destyn Harding, sophomore marketing major, as well as faculty advisors Dr. Shawn Welnack, professor of philosophy, Dr. John Lutz, professor of English and Ed Niemczura, adjunct professor of English, the freshmen weeded the garden and manicured the existing foliage.

“Beyond the pleasures of gardening, our project also aimed to encourage students to take responsibility for their surroundings,” Welnack said.

The point of the freshman year service learning project is “to better lives around us and ourselves,” Hancox said. More service projects are to come – the work on the garden was the first of many, although no specific other projects have been selected yet.

“For a few students, it was the first time they had done any weeding and cleaning up of an outdoor space,” Welnack said. “Although we could only provide a little taste of the pure pleasures that can come from working with and beautifying the land, our hope is that other occasions will arise for students, eventually leading them to fully appreciate such pleasures – and perhaps take up gardening on their own.”

Students worked with the campus grounds crew during the event, Welnack said.

“[The grounds crew] are an absolute delight to work with,” Welnack said. “They interact with the students, telling them about the various plants, flowers and weeds, hopefully both educating them, as well as forming more personal bonds between students and staff on campus.”

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