“I thought we were getting breakfast,” Lindsey Bitler, a freshman BTMM major said. “But when I realized it was a community service project, I still decided to wake up and join in.”
Temple hosted the second-annual FreshServe, a community service day that invites faculty, freshmen and alumni to serve surrounding North Philadelphia communities by volunteering their time through community service.
To keep the momentum of Welcome Week alive, volunteers arrived on Geasey Field at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 29 to the musical sounds playing at WHIP’s DJ table.
“I heard about FreshServe when I was moving in my dorm,” said Faith Miller, a freshman anthropology major. “It sounded like a lot of fun and I think it’s a great way to learn about the community that Temple is located in as well as meet other students.”
Senior kinesiology major Tiffany Thompson knows how important community service is to Temple.
“The idea for FreshServe started a few years back and we just held it for the first time last year,” said Thompson, who is also president for Main Campus Program Board. “[In 2007], 1,400 students participated and the people in the places we helped out were really grateful. We did street cleanups, organized library books and swept and painted rooms in churches close to the university.”
Thompson said one of the main goals of the event was to help the neighboring communities.
“We have to embrace the area we live in because Temple is now our home too. These places need to know we’re here to help,” Thompson said.
Preparation for FreshServe began during the summer, with calls being made to local churches, community organizations and non-profit corporations based in North Philadelphia. Organizers also visited prospective sites to determine the amount of manpower and tools needed. Welcome Week’s greeting committee, the Hoot Squad, served as team leaders for each site.
Michael Nerozzi, a senior political science major, was one of the student leaders.
“When I was a freshman, I felt that programs like this made me feel like a part of the community. I wanted to get involved as soon as I could,” Nerozzi said.
Nerozzi led one of the biggest groups of students that day. With multiple shuttle buses, 96 freshmen and other volunteers traveled to Francisville Recreation Center to clean the facility’s rooms.
“We placed two leaders per site along with the faculty, alumni and other volunteers,” said Chris Carey, associate director of student activities. “They also get a folder that states how many students they are getting, where the site is, what the main goals are and if there is a local contact person at the site. We try to keep everything as organized as possible.”
Wendy Urban was one of the many faculty members to wake up early and join the FreshServe festivities.
“I thought it was a great way for students to connect with the faculty in an out-of-the-classroom setting,” Urban said. “I had fun last year so I decided to do it again.”
“The feeling you get after you do community service is what makes you roll out of bed,” said Becky Kerner, an undeclared freshman.
Andrea Swan, Temple’s city and neighborhood relations manager, said she was excited for the community service.
“I’ve only been at Temple for about a year, and one of my first days with the university was at FreshServe,” Swan said. “Temple regularly meets with non-profit and community groups and this is just another way to reach out to the community. This is more than goodwill. It shows we care.”
Abigail Shepherd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.