Orientation Service Project

On Saturday, August 18th, 2018, the University of Findlay hosted its sixteenth-annual service day.  Each year, faculty, staff, alumni, and upperclassmen volunteer to be project leaders to lead incoming freshmen in various service activities throughout Hancock County.  Crystal Weitz, one of the leaders of service day, stated that there are three main goals:

1.)   Introduce students to each other and work on teambuilding

2.)   Allowing the students to get to know Findlay and Hancock County

3.)   Helping the community and being a good neighbor and partner

This year’s service day involved 551 first-year students and 92 project leaders.  These

643 volunteers completed 62 service projects.  Volunteers were sent to places all over Findlay, Mt. Blanchard, and Arlington, including College First Church of God, Fort Findlay Playhouse, Camp Fire NW Ohio, and Birchaven Village.

Freshman, Kristine Johnson, volunteered at Gateway Church on North Main Street where she cleaned children’s lanyards, name tags, toys and nurseries.  She said that “it was a fun time volunteering with my peers.”  She added that “the faculty was very informative and nice when it came to the project.”  Just as the goal of service day is to connect students and show them there are service opportunities in the community, Kristine said that her “big take-a-way from service day was that you can help people with their needs, even if it is only for an hour or two. Anything helps, and they will appreciate it a lot afterward.”  Service day gives students an opportunity to see first-hand the type of service that they can volunteer with throughout their time at the University of Findlay, and even after.

Upperclassmen who enjoyed their service day freshman year and want to make an impact on current freshmen, have the opportunity to become project leaders.  April Lesher, a senior at UF, served as a project leader at service day this year.  When asked why she chose to volunteer, she said that served through Oilers Serving Abroad (OSA), and she chose this service opportunity because she wanted to see the “freshman class enjoy [service day] as much as she did.”  As a service leader, she gathered the supplies for the day, divided the students into smaller groups, and made sure that everyone was comfortable.  She added that it’s “easy for people to get caught up in everything and take things for granted,” and it’s important to “get out and see what’s out there to make people’s days better.” 

Findlay’s long-running service day sends out letters to nonprofits and other organizations in the area to see where students can volunteer.  Some organizations reach out to the university to gain help year after year.  This service day has been benefiting not only the community but also the students and faculty of the university as a way to bring people together to work for a more unified county. 

For more information about the Orientation Service Project, please contact Crystal Weitz, director of Service and Community Engagement at UF, at 419-434-6671 or weitz@findlay.edu.