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One group of stu­dents cleared foliage during the Day of Service. Anna Katherine Daley | Courtesy

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.”