DUBOIS, Pa. — First-year students beginning their career in higher education at Penn State DuBois this semester kicked off the academic year with an enormous service project during New Student Orientation. The students volunteered with Stop Hunger Now, an organization based in Jackson, Mississippi, with warehouses across the U.S. that supply nutritional meals to people around the globe, helping to sustain underprivileged people wherever there is a need.
The students volunteered during a massive effort in the campus gymnasium and were assigned various jobs along an assembly line-style operation in order to prepare an astonishing 30,000 meals in just 75 minutes. Some volunteers weighed the dehydrated rice and other ingredients, some mixed, some packaged and sealed, and still others loaded the meals into boxes, preparing them to ship. The meals will be distributed to any location where the organization determines there is a need throughout the world.
As part of New Student Orientation each year, freshmen participate in a service project of some type that allows them to give back to the local, national or global community. "It's important that students engage in community service right off the bat. It teaches them about social responsibility and places where they can get involved," said Assistant Director of Student Affairs Marly Doty. In past years, students were often divided into groups to volunteer at various service sites around the area. This year, Doty said, she was looking for a way that all new students could work together on one large project.
"We’ve been working to identify a service project that all new students could work together on during community outreach at New Student Orientation," Doty said. "This year it happened — we received funding to work with Stop Hunger Now. We discovered this organization in March 2015 while on the alternative spring break trip in New Orleans. The students were amazed at what a group of people working toward the same thing could accomplish. We hope this common experience will help encourage future civically minded students and a close community as they embark on this year together."