Freshmen join in community service
New Honors College students spent their first full day at East Carolina University off campus helping others.
Incoming freshmen participated in Service Day, which introduced students to the importance of community service, a core part of the mission and values of Honors College. It was the fifth year for the event held Aug. 20.
A total of 110 students volunteered at 11 local nonprofits: the American Cancer Society’s McConnell-Raab Hope Lodge, Building Hope, Center for Family Violence Prevention, Community Crossroads Center (formerly called Greenville Community Shelter), Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, Golden Living Center, GO-Science, Habitat for Humanity, Help Them L.A.S.T., Ronald McDonald House and the Salvation Army.
At GO-Science, students led hands-on experiments to get children excited about science or STEM courses in support of the regional science center’s mission. The center recently opened in a permanent location on Dickinson Avenue in Greenville.
“With these kinds of experiences, (the kids) can learn about science in an interactive and fun way. It’s not boring,” said Joshua Parker, freshman biology major. “I wish I had something like this growing up.”
Roger Conner, executive director of GO-Science, said the organization likes partnering with ECU to engage Honors College students in working with area schoolchildren and families.
“These individuals are the best and brightest coming to ECU and this gives them a positive community experience,” Conner said. “ECU is dedicated to service and regional transformation, and the Honors College students have a four-year, or longer, commitment to service in the community and region.”
Beyond service, ECU students enjoyed getting children involved in learning activities.
“Kids can feel the science. It’s hands-on plus listening, so they can experience the product,” said Talen Piner, freshman musical theater major. “They are learning rather than just hearing. These activities keep their attention.”
Parents said they liked having ECU students working with their children.
“I think that this gives them good role models and hands-on experience, especially at such a young age,” said Emily Chambliss, who brought her 2-year-old to participate in the science experiments with ECU Honors College students. “The kids think that they could be here one day as a (college) student.”
Service Day sets the stage for the academic experiences that are just around the corner for Honors College freshmen. Each fall, honors freshmen enroll in their first of four colloquia courses, a component of the college’s specialized curriculum. The course focuses on service and leadership and charges the students with making a positive impact in the Greenville community as an engaged citizen.
“Honors College Service Day creates an important foundation for our incoming class of Honors students each year,” said Dr. Todd Fraley, director of EC Scholars and interim associate dean of academic programs in the Honors College.
“Throughout the day, students connect with one another, Honors College faculty and staff and community leaders who strive to make Greenville a strong and vibrant community. ECU is committed to developing servant leaders and the goal of HC service day is to support students on this journey by showing them the positive impact they can have.”
- Jessica Nottingham contributed to this story.