First-Year Students Kickoff Their Time on the Hilltop in Service to the Community

August 25, 2022

By Anna Brennan-Curry

On Friday, August 26, 2022, 531 new students and 70 orientation leaders volunteered with 13 non-profit community partners throughout the greater Manchester region for the college’s annual Brian Maguire Day of Service. Each year during new student orientation, the day of service introduces students to the college’s culture of service and connects them to the broader community. 

“It’s a great opportunity for first-year students to bond together, but also go out into the community,” said Audrey Dellabarba ’24. “Not everyone is from New Hampshire. For many it’s the first time they get to engage with the Manchester community.”

Student volunteers participated in a variety of service projects

Student sorting food
First-year student organizes supplies at the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire.

including landscaping and gardening, donation sorting, painting, and spending time with community members at locations which included Wolfe Park, the Arbors of Bedford, and Hope for New Hampshire Recovery. These sites also regularly host volunteers from the College and shared how valuable the student partnerships are.

“Manchester is a very diverse and vibrant community, said Jillian Barrett ’23, a member of the Meelia Center student leadership team. “[The Day of Service] gives them the opportunity and encourages the freshman to get in touch with what’s outside the Hilltop. 

In Bedford, N.H., a group of students did laundry, organized supplies, and played with animals up for adoption at the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire. It was a fun way to ease into their time away from home, and one new student, Mariana Stauble ’26, who left a pet rabbit at home, had a nice reminder, as she sat with the rabbits in the shelter. 

Students engaging in service
Volunteers sort classroom supplies at Bartlett Elementary School.

“I love doing these service events,” shares orientation leader, Tessa Moriarty ’23. “It shows the incoming freshman what Saint A’s is about, since we have the foundation of service. For incoming freshmen they get to see this, experience it, and actually enjoy it.”

Girls Inc. of New Hampshire, hosted three groups of students who gave the building, playground, and other equipment a deep, end of summer cleaning. After speeding through all of their tasks, the group began making cards to welcome participants to the new program year. 

At Bartlett Elementary School, groups worked hard, indoors and out, organizing materials for the beginning of the school year, cleaning, and painting. 

“I always loved doing community service. It’s fun to see what’s going on in the community,” said Garrett Alberti ’26. “I’m from Wilmington, Mass. It’s a little different from New Hampshire. We’re at a school right now and cleaning out the backyard for kids to play in and making stars. It’s always fun to do that.”

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.

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

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