Over fall break twenty-three Waynesburg University students collectively served the communities of Waynesburg, Pennsylvania and Antietam, Maryland.
One of those students who elected to volunteer during break was Jazmin Booker, sophomore nursing major. She attended the Habitat for Humanity Service Trip and was shocked alongside other students by the substandard housing in Greene County.
“We went to this abandoned house that Habitat for Humanity built and had been abandoned for 2 or 3 years and [when] we walked in everybody’s faces were just priceless,” Booker said.
There were a total of 3 service trips over break that were led by faculty and staff members. Marie Leichliter Krause, assistant provost for academic affairs and institutional effectiveness, and Rea Redd, director of the Eberly Library, led the service trip to Antietam National Battlefield and Historical Societies from Saturday, Oct. 12, to Thursday, Oct. 17. Avery White, graduate assistant for the center for service leadership, led the Greene County Habitat for Humanity service trip. Kelley Hardie, assistant dean of student services and director of the Center for Service Leadership, led the third and final service trip, Greene County Immersion trip, from Sunday, Oct. 13, to Saturday, Oct. 19.
Hardie said these trips served as an opportunity for students to connect with the community they’re serving and the university’s mission.
“It provides students with an understanding of the social needs that exist within our community and around the globe, and fulfills our University mission of connecting faith, learning and service,” Hardie said.
Each service trip was able to do this in their own unique way as they each did something different at their service sites.
The ten students that attended the Greene County Immersion trip volunteered at 2nd Sam 9, St. Ann’s Good Neighbor Dinner Program, the Greene County Historical Society, the Greene County Chapter of Project Linus, Corner Cupboard Food Bank and the Ronald McDonald House.
At these locations students assisted with packing food and distributing food boxes among other tasks. Hardie hoped that these students gained a greater understanding of the social needs in Greene County through these and other activities they assisted with at the locations.
“[I hope students] learn more about the social needs that exist within Greene County and fall in love with one of these service sites and continue to serve after the trip,” said Hardie.
The Greene County Habitat for Humanity service trip also helped the Greene County community, but instead of working with food and blankets the six students who participated in the trip worked with houses to address the substandard housing issues in Greene County.
“I hope students are able to witness some of the housing issues that are here in Greene County and begin thinking about possible solutions that could help,” said White. “There are many issues here in Greene County that most students are not aware of, and I know when I was a student, I was blind to many of these issues as well.”
The final trip was not in Greene County, but in Antietam, Maryland. Redd said the students who participated in the third service trip participated in both service and learning at the following sites: Antietam National Battlefield Park, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Shepherdstown Historical Society, Tolson’s Chapel Historical Site and Little Antietam Creek Archaeological Society.
These trips not only aided the community in many ways but also the students who served. Booker said she personally came out of the experience feeling more grateful.
“I honestly didn’t know what I was getting myself into, all I knew was that my goal was to make a difference in the community,” Booker said. “After the trip I felt grateful for the experience. I was able to meet a lot of new people while making a difference in the community and the people all around me.”