Members of the newest class at Hope College will learn more about their new community by spending time to help make it a better place.

Some 300 Hope students--most of them members of the newly-arrived freshman Class of 2005--will participate in the college's second annual "Time to Serve" volunteer program on Saturday, Sept. 1, volunteering at sites throughout the Holland area. They signed up for the program on Saturday, Aug. 25, only a day after arriving on campus for the college's "New Student Orientation."

"We want to give students an opportunity to learn about service, and we wanted to get them involved right away--in their first week here at Hope," said Diana Breclaw, who is director of student activities and staff coordinator of the program. "We hope 'Time to Serve' will give them a chance to interact with students that they haven't met yet and learn more about the community that they're living in."

The students will be working in groups of about 15 at one of 19 sites. Projects will range from working on the playground at Maplewood School; to cleaning and maintenance at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holland; to interacting with residents at Freedom Village; to sorting clothes at the Holland Rescue Mission.

The students' service on September 1 will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., a three-hour commitment that Breclaw hopes will be only the beginning for many. "We're hoping that the time they serve on Saturday will help lead them to find ways to volunteer in an on-going way," she said.