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Oberlin College Day of Service Participants Learn and Labor

OBERLIN, OHIO — For 175 years, Oberlin’s “Learning and Labor” motto has inspired its students to engage in hard work both in and out of the classroom.  On Saturday, August 30, more than 300 new students will continue the tradition of participating in the annual Day of Service (DOS) sponsored by the Bonner Center for Service and Learning. Now in its 12th year, DOS provides incoming Oberlin students an opportunity to perform community service at various area sites during Orientation Week.

“We hope the participants will see the strong connection between the College and the surrounding community and remain involved during their Oberlin years,” says DOS Coordinator Francesca Minonne ’08. “Day of Service is a fun and meaningful way for them to begin learning about the community that will be their home base for the next few years.”

In 2007, 372 incoming students and volunteers contributed more than 1,700 DOS hours at 27 sites. Minnone says that the students are consistently enthusiastic about their engagement in the community and also see it as a unique learning opportunity. During DOS 2007, the group that worked on vegetable oil collection and filtration and other projects at Full Circle Fuels, an alternative fuel station in Oberlin, described their experience as “awesome!” A student volunteer at nearby George Jones Farm/New Agrarian Center remarked that “ taking part in the DOS only further confirmed that Oberlin is the right place for me!”

Some sites, such as the Jones Farm, have been a part of DOS almost from its inception, while others, like the Oberlin Senior Center, Family Promise of Lorain County, and the Oberlin Hot Meals program, are new to the program. Many of the projects involve cleaning, painting, and landscaping – all tasks that are necessary for the upkeep of a park or facility, but time-consuming and, at times, difficult for the community partners themselves to complete. “Thanks to DOS, in the span of just one day a group of excited, energetic students can make a real difference,” says Minonne.

DOS veterans, such as Daniel Tam-Claiborne ’09 and Jessica Saw ’11, often become site leaders. Says Tam-Claiborne, ”I want to be available to answer new students’ questions and put them in touch with the volunteer opportunities that speak to them the most. Orientation Week can be overwhelming, but taking the time to participate in DOS is worthwhile, because it is a great way to introduce first-years to the wealth of campus resources.”

Saw believes the day is not just about working hard, but also about meeting other students. “Volunteers will come out [of DOS] with at least one good friend, if not more.”  Working side by side with the leaders also gives new students a first-hand look at what it means to be an Obie. “DOS only confirmed what I had heard when I was a prospective student, ‘Oberlin is full of people who are passionate about what they do’.”

2008 Day of Service Projects
Unless otherwise stated, all projects will take place at locations in or around Oberlin.

  • Paint rooms at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lorain County in Lorain.
  • Stain and seal benches and weed at Common Ground, a nature center.
  • Deep cleaning at Family Promise of Lorain County house in Elyria.
  • Weed and mulch for Firelands Division of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy.
  • Clear brush on a trail in Collins, Ohio, with Firelands Rails to Trails.
  • Learn about biofuels and help with projects at Full Circle Fuels.
  • Weed and harvest organically grown food at George Jones Farm/New Agrarian Center.
  • Help Lorain’s Harrison Cultural Community Center clean and organize.
  • Clean kitchen for Hot Meals Program at Christ Episcopal Church.
  • Accompany residents of Kendal at Oberlin to an art exhibit in Cleveland.
  • Help clean Lorain Metro Parks’ newest site in Avon Lake and learn about the construction process from concept to completion.
  • Work in rose garden at Metro Parks-Lakeview in Lorain.
  • Weed, trim rose bushes, clean, and organize at the Lorain County Tropical Greenhouse and Museum Association near Amherst.
  • Assist Main St. Oberlin in sweeping, scraping, weeding downtown district.
  • Visit residents at two Murray Ridge group homes.
  • Paint Oberlin Early Childhood Center classrooms.
  • Paint, landscape, weed at Oberlin Public Library.
  • Landscaping work at Oberlin city schools (Eastwood, Prospect, Langston, and Oberlin High School).
  • Prep’ work for a new garden at Oberlin Senior Center, wash front porch, and take looming lessons.
  • Landscaping work at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park with Rotary Club.
  • Help Save our Children in Elyria clean and organize the Center.
  • Repackage food at Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio
  • Clean and help maintain the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Weltzheimer/Johnson House.
  • Pass out flyers and inform local businesses about Planned Parenthood program at YWCA Women’s Center of Lorain.

Media Contact:
Betty Gabrielli
Oberlin College
Office of Communications

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