Some 300 Hope College students will participate in service projects throughout the area through the college’s “Time to Serve” program on Saturday, Sept. 10.

Most of the students will be members of the freshman Class of 2020.  The students are signing up across the opening two weeks of the school year for the mass volunteer effort.

The students will be working in groups of five to 12 at more than 30 sites from 10 a.m. to approximately 2:30 p.m. Projects are scheduled throughout the Holland and Zeeland area, and will range from sorting at Bibles for Mexico, to farm work at the Critter Barn, to removing invasive species at the Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway, to groundskeeping and cleaning at many organizations.

The “Time to Serve” program is designed to help new students learn about service while helping and getting to know their community and becoming better acquainted with one another. The project began in the fall of 2000 with 10 projects and about 100 participants, and had grown to 24 projects and 300 students a year later. In October 2001, “Time to Serve” 2000 received a 2001 Distinguished Service Award from Keep Michigan Beautiful Inc. during the group’s annual conference.

Hope students volunteer in a variety of ways throughout the school year. In addition to “Time to Serve,” three prominent efforts at the college are the “Relay for Life” for the American Cancer Society, the “Dance Marathon” charitable fund-raiser held on behalf of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital of Grand Rapids, and the spring break service and immersion trip program, all of which involve students from across campus.  In January 2011, Hope was named to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s “2010 Community Engagement Classification” for demonstrating excellent community engagement locally and beyond, showing alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices.