Before classes even began at Penn State Brandywine this fall, the campus provided an opportunity for incoming freshmen to “get rooted in service.” The Fresh START Day of Service, held on Friday, August 21, encouraged new students to have their first service opportunity through Penn State that would lay the foundation for them to continue service through their academic career and their lifetime. Stephanie Jones, Associate Director of Student Affairs at Penn State Brandywine, stated, “Our hope is that, through Fresh START, new students will develop lifelong civic engagement and build leadership skills through service.”
And just where did these energetic and enthusiastic incoming freshmen get their Fresh START of service? – at Tyler Arboretum!
Stephanie worked with Julia Lo Ehrhardt, Tyler Arboretum’s Volunteer Coordinator, to offer indoor and outdoor volunteer opportunities. Some students assisted the fall school program mailer (over 700 pieces of mail were prepared!) and helped prepare for the upcoming Butterfly Festival, while others who were more outdoor oriented and/or interested in ecology or conservation worked with Tyler’s horticulture department in invasive removal and clearing areas of weeks and unruly plants from the Chestnut Orchard to the Wister Rhododendron Garden. I was able to pop in on the different groups and see some incredible hard work on such a warm day – with all students and Tyler staff with wide smiles on their faces!
I think this post-event comment from Julia really summarizes what these volunteer efforts mean to Tyler Arboretum:
It is community support that helps Tyler to engage people in an outdoor setting that is joyous and beautiful while conserving our natural resources. This wonderful outdoor space exists because people like you care enough to volunteer.
I encourage all K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and even other community groups and businesses to gather a group of people and all receive a Fresh START in “getting rooted in service” at Tyler Arboretum!