Look out, Harrisonburg, the college students are coming.
EMU wants to introduce its newest group of first-year students to the community by some direct involvement in local service programs.
For the first time, as part of its orientation program, some 300 new EMU students and student orientation leaders will spend Saturday, Aug. 28, working with non-profit and other social service agencies.
“We want our students to understand that they are not coming just to a college campus, but to a real community that has both needs and opportunities for learning,” said Deanna F. Durham, community learning coordinator at EMU.
“We require all first-year students to do 15 hours of community service their first semester. This ‘Day of Service’ is designed to introduce them to the many non-profits and social service agencies in our communities and to accomplish some much-needed work in our community just before school starts,” she added.
The program will begin at 10 a.m. in Lehman Auditorium with a welcome and comments from Vice-Mayor Rodney Eagle, Ron Copeland, an EMU student and former owner of The Little Grill restaurant; Adam Starks, a 2003 EMU graduate and manager of Panera Bread; and representatives from local non-profit agencies.
In addition, locally-owned restaurants and Panera Bread have agreed to host and provide lunch for the students or donate food for lunch. Local non-profits will host the students for an afternoon of community service. Transportation will be provided by Harrisonburg Transit and EMU vans.
Participating restaurants include Little Grill, Chanello’s Pizza, Lil’ Italia, Calhoun’s, Mr. J’s Bagels, Panera Bread, Bombay Indian Restaurant, Taste of Thai and the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community (VMRC) cafe.
The organizations where students will work include Black’s Run Greenway, The Children’s Museum, Gift and Thrift, Artisan’s Hope, Booksavers, A World of Goods, Salvation Army Thrift Store, Camp Kaleidescope, Camp Still Meadows, WVPT, Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, Glen Eco Farm, Our Community Place, Highland Retreat, Rockingham Memorial Hospital, Crossing Creeks, Mercy House, VMRC and Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center.
Activities will run through 5 p.m. that day.