Service First at PSU

August 13th, 2004 by Adam

Seventeen Plymouth State University first-year students will arrive on campus early to take part in Community Service Orientation (CSO). Under the guidance of experienced student leaders, these students will spend the week of August 22-28 engaging in service, developing leadership skills and forging new friendships. Plymouth State students contributed more than 10,000 hours to volunteer service throughout the last academic year.

Over the course of the program, participants will provide hundreds of hours of service to a variety of non-profit agencies including the Plymouth Regional Senior Center, Pemi Valley Habitat for Humanity, the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center and the Manchester Food Bank.

In addition to their service work, CSO members will participate in recreational activities including an overnight camping trip at the AMC Highland Center in Crawford Notch, the PSU ropes courses, hikes and swimming. They will also attend a Manchester Fischer Cats/Portland Sea Dogs baseball game.

“These service projects instill in students a sense of community ownership and civic responsibility, and help them make the transition from high school to university,” says Nancy Conklin, coordinator of the Community Service Learning Center at Plymouth State. “They develop a bond during this week before the majority of students arrive, and that bond tends to carry through their university years. They get comfortable with the campus and life at PSU, and that confidence carries over, too. Many quickly become campus leaders.”

Student coordinator of the project is Andrea Krupsky, a senior communications major from Sanford, Maine. Krupsky is a graduate of the first-year CSO and a devoted volunteer who has participated in Alternative Spring Break two years, and with the University Nicaragua Club in the barrio of La Primavera in 2003.
Krupsky hopes the students will walk away with new friendships and a new outlook on what the University experience can really give them. She says, “I think CSO opens people’s eyes to so many things about others and themselves. Not only are they able to aid someone else, but they are able to learn things about themselves at the same time. I hope they will gain a new perspective on what community service really is and how a small group of people can make such a big difference, even in just a week’s time.”

This year’s participants are Eric Bonnett, Manchester; Stacy Boudreau, Concord; Laura Bucci, Smithfield, R.I.; Chris Celestino, Mamaroneck, N.Y.; Jessica Conley, Cape Elizabeth, Maine; Leanne Coutts, E. Bridgewater, Mass.; Ryan Dobens, Hollis; Aaron Fitzgerald, White River Junction, Vt.; Kristen Freeman, York, Maine; Elizabeth Gagnon, Salem; Megan Grondin, Westbrook, Maine; Jenna Kelly, Wayne, Pa.; Kelsey Lawton, Colebrook; James McGrath, Cheshire, Conn.; Amanda Morris, Manchester; Rob Nichols, Bolton, Mass. and Sara Noyes, Bow.

Student leaders are Chris Marcoux, Winslow, Maine; Liz Wirkkala, Weare; Amanda Drapcho, Greenland and Leslie Kingsley, Brattleboro, Vt.

For information contact Nancy Conklin, 535-3026 or via e-mail to nconklin@plymouth.edu.