Hillsdale students took part in the college’s first ever community-wide Day of Service volunteer this weekend, helping with cleaning and other service work.
On Saturday, April 6, hundreds of students spent their day throughout Hillsdale County volunteering their time to the Day of Service. The event was put together by Hillsdale College’s GOAL Program and the Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honorary.
“Roughly one of out five Hillsdale College students went out and met the needs of Hillsdale County,” Ross Hatley, president of ODK, said. “That is absolutely incredible. It was quite the event, and there were 20 different partner organizations that identified their needs.”
The volunteers divided into 20 teams to work with each organization. While one washed windows at the hospice center, another cleaned up the Baw Beese trail, and yet another made blankets for Domestic Harmony, the domestic violence shelter. Many other groups did a lot of cleaning around the community in places such as the humane societies, the fairgrounds, and Salvation Army.
“Almost every Greek organization, many sports teams, campus clubs, and a wide array of the dorms came together to make this happen,” Hatley said.
The day even included the efforts of Hillsdale College staff. Dean of Women Diane Philipp, Associate Dean of Women Rebekah Dell, and Director of Student Activities Ashlyn Landherr painted the ceiling at St. Paul’s Ability Resource Center.
Lucile Townley, director of the GOAL Program, said the event exceeded her expectations.
“The event was everything we were hoping for. Our goal was to have 20 service projects, and we ended up with exactly 20 project and about 200 volunteers,” she said. “We had 280 T‑shirts and they were gone, but there were also teams that I know didn’t get T‑shirts. I’m guessing we had around 300 volunteers.”
Jan Nageldinger, the shelter manager at the Branch County Humane Society, said it was the “best day ever for the animals.”
“Some students painted kennels in the quarantine area and walked dogs. The animals were actually tired after they left, and that never happens around here,” she said. “They don’t get out unless a volunteer comes to take them for a walk. They were so happy that day.”
Hatley said the Day of Service will not become an annual event, as GOAL and ODK don’t wish to take away from the other smaller projects teams and clubs do throughout the school year.
“You can begin to start taking this thing for granted. I think this is obviously beyond my scope at Hillsdale, but I think it will be undertaken every other year,” Hatley said. “I hope it will continue, and with the enthusiasm we saw, I think it will continue, but we don’t want volunteering at Hillsdale to be based on large scale volunteer events.”