posted September 29, 2000

Orientation Service Projects

More than 100 new Hope College students
will spend Saturday morning doing volunteer work in Holland
through a new addition to the college's Orientation program.

Even more wanted to.

When she was planning the college's new "Time to
Serve" volunteer program, staff member Diana Breclaw thought
that she was being optimistic when she lined up enough
projects for 120 incoming students--some 15 percent of the
Class of 2004. Just in case she didn't get that many, she
reasoned that she could always invite returning students as
well.

She needn't have worried. A mere 30 minutes into
the 3.5-hour sign-up process this past weekend, every slot
was filled by one of Hope's incoming freshmen.

"I should have known," said Breclaw, who is
director of student activities at Hope and staff coordinator
for the college's New Student Orientation. "This place is
incredible."

"After the first half hour, we had a waiting
list," she said. "I have whole clusters [housing units of
about 14 students] in Dykstra who want to go and I have no
place for them to go."

Breclaw has been planning "Time to Serve" with two
Hope seniors: Laura Evans of Livonia and Melissa Howe of
Decatur, who were also the student coordinators for New
Student Orientation. "To see the excitement on campus is
breathtaking," Howe said. "Everywhere we turn there are
more people wanting to sign up."

Working in teams of 15, the students will spend
9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2, at eight
different sites in the Holland area. They'll work on
projects ranging from cleaning the kitchen at Community
Kitchen, to washing and waxing vans for the Boys and Girls
Club of Greater Holland, to weeding and planting for Holland
Area Beautiful.

Afterward, the students will come together to
reflect on the experience and to learn how to become
involved in community service in an on-going way.

According to Breclaw, the program has two goals:
first, to help students appreciate the importance of giving
of themselves, and, second, to give the members of the
college's newest class an additional opportunity to get
together.

"A college education is about more than getting
your degree," Breclaw said. "We want students to see that
they should be giving back because they were given a great
privilege to be able to go to college."

"And most of our students are involved in service
before they ever come to Hope," she said.

The service effort is also a follow-up to the
college's four-day New Student Orientation program, which
ran Friday-Monday, Aug. 25-28. Classes at Hope started on
Tuesday, Aug. 29.

"I wanted to do something the second weekend they
were here, both to give them an activity to look forward to
and to give them a chance to meet different people than they
met during the first weekend," Breclaw said.

Evans, for one, is anticipating that the program
will be a success. "I think it's going to be a lot of fun
for the students to help out in the community and meet their
peers at the same time," she said.

Agencies interested in having a team of Hope
student volunteers visit on Saturday, Sept. 2, should
contact the college's Office of Student Development at (616)
395-7800.