New students 'plunge' in volunteer service

Huntington, Ind.—A record number of new students at Huntington University plunged into their college experience by volunteering at several places throughout the Huntington community on Aug. 23.

Dr. Kevin Miller, associate professor of communication, and freshman Brittany Hawkins of Fort Wayne, Ind., clean out leaves from the Church of the Brethren on Washington Street. Hawkins is a communication studies major.
For 15 years, the university’s new students have participated in the Joe Mertz Center’s Volunteer Plunge. This year, 28 teams comprised of more than 350 freshmen and transfer students, 28 mentor students, and 30 faculty worked on projects from 1 to 3 p.m.

The Volunteer Plunge is a part-day of community service held each year in conjunction with Huntington University’s comprehensive, three-day, new student orientation.

Junior Julie McCoy of Fort Wayne, Ind., cleans playground equipment at Huntington Headstart. McCoy is an elementary education major.
The teams helped with painting, cleaning out facilities, building maintenance, lawn care, mulching, washing vehicles, socializing with nursing home residents, picking up litter and repairing fences.

“The presence of the Lord was obvious on Saturday as hundreds of students and 50 plus faculty staff and mentors departed from the upper level of our dining commons,” said Grace McBrayer, director of first year students and volunteer service. “A summer’s worth of orchestration culminated as students and staff spread out into the community of Huntington and a bit beyond. Certainly many thanks go to the myriad of people and organizations willing to host our students out in the community, as well as the Joe Mertz Center student staff who worked hard during the days before the plunge to arrange details regarding the vans, work supplies and other logistics.”

Freshman Nick Kight of Greenwood, Ind., sorts donated clothing by gender and size for Love INC. Love INC will give the clothes to the Boys and Girls Club for the children who participate in its programs. Kight is a double major in business management and public relations.
Service locations for the 2008 Volunteer Plunge included the Huntington Head Start, YMCA, Bible Baptist Church, Homier Baseball Field, The Church of Our Glorious King, Salamonie Interpretive Center, The Huntington County Chapter of the American Red Cross, Helping Paws, Miller’s Merry Manor, the Huntington County Boys and Girls Club, Salamonie Reservoir, College Park Church, Victory Knoll, Love INC, Pathfinder Services, Forks of the Wabash, Dan Quayle Center, Riverview Middle School, Good Shepherd Church, Huntington Church of the Brethren, Huntington First Church of the Nazarene, Kids Kampus, Springwater Church 509 Ministries and Habitat for Humanity.

Founded in 1992, the Joe Mertz Center for Volunteer Service has become an integral part of Huntington University campus life. During the 2007-2008 academic year, students, faculty and staff volunteered for more than 12,900 hours, serving families, organizations and programs.

The JMC is a student-directed organization that mobilizes the campus community for Christian service. The JMC aims to involve students in the local community, instill a lifelong tendency toward service and promote the idea that one person can make a difference. The Joe Mertz Center has been listed as an exemplary program in the John Templeton Foundation Honor Roll of Character-Building Colleges.

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Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S.News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington University is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in northeast Indiana. The University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).  


Heather Barkley
Director of Communications
Joanne Green
Sports Information Director