568 Students Volunteer in Local Community During Orientation

August 19, 2021

By Anna Brennan-Curry

On Friday, August 20, 504 new students and 64 orientation leaders volunteered with 25 non-profit community partners throughout the greater Manchester region for the college’s annual Brian Maguire Day of Service during their New Student Orientation.

“The Brian Maguire Day of Service is an Anselmian tradition that’s about welcoming our students to campus, introducing them to our culture of service, and connecting them with the broader community,” explains Nicole Lora ‘06, Director of the Meelia Center for Community Engagement. “It is the event that starts to bring the first-year class together.”

“This is so important because it representative of our community,” shares Orientation Leader Claire McMahon ’23. “Service is so important, and it’s really rewarding for the new students to learn what our values are.”

Student volunteers participated in a variety of service projects including landscaping and gardening, donation sorting, painting, and spending time with community members. The 32 projects included a park clean-up and ice cream social with Kids Cafe, trail maintenance at multiple Audubon Society locations, and gardening at the Moore Center. These sites also regularly host volunteers from the College and shared how valuable the student partnerships are.

The service opportunity is coordinated by student leaders and staff at the Meelia Center for Community Engagement which partners with more than 50 nonprofit agencies throughout the academic year to provide Anselmians with meaningful opportunities for service and engagement.

“Over the past few weeks [we] have worked diligently to make sure that all of the different sites have all of the materials and equipment that they need to make impactful and meaningful connections both within their orientation groups and within the community,” explained Anastasia Morrisson ’22, who coordinated the day along with Juliana Cole ’22.

Bartlett Elementary School in Goffstown is preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary, and two groups of volunteers worked to get the outside of the school ready for their upcoming celebrations. They cleaned up the yard, spray painted lines in the playground, and helped to refresh the parking lot.

At the Animal Rescue League, volunteers helped with a variety of projects inside and out – sorting donations, cleaning up trails, and even getting to meet one of their animals – an adorable English Setter named Bentley.

Down the street, in Manchester, at Families in Transition, whose mission is to prevent and break the cycle of homelessness, a group of students and orientation leaders worked to organize their food pantry and did some clean-up work outside.

At the New Hampshire Food Bank Production Garden, students helped create a compost pile, weeding, and other gardening activities.

“I enjoyed myself,” said Diego Benitez ’25. “It was nice being in the sun and doing some work that I felt mattered, and getting my hands dirty.”

Many of the first-year students shared that they hoped to become more involved with the Meelia Center and felt that the day of service was a good introduction to many of the community partners.

This event originated more than 20 years ago in honor of former student Brian McGuire and serves as a kick-off for a full year of activities for the Meelia Center. For more information about service opportunities visit the Meelia Center’s Anselm Engage site.

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