By Ruby Thomas and Jessica Able, Record Staff Writers
The incoming class of first-year students at Spalding and Bellarmine universities spent their first few days of college life taking part in service projects on campus and around town.
About 75 students participating in Spalding’s three-day freshman orientation program — called Engaged — packed lunches and hygiene kits for clients of Wellspring Aug. 20 in Spalding’s Morrison Hall dormitory.
Wellspring, a non-profit organization that promotes mental health recovery for adults, is located a block away from Spalding’s campus. Students also planted several flower beds behind Morrison Hall.
Anna Foshee, director of student leadership and service learning at Spalding, said service is a pillar of the Spalding mission statement and by participating in a service learning project during orientation, “incoming Spalding students begin to truly understand what it means to live out the university’s mission.”
“We want to prepare and inspire our students to be change-makers in their professions and in their communities,” Foshee said.
More than 600 Bellarmine University first-year students also took part in service projects last week.
Accompanied by members of the faculty and staff, new students fanned across the city for the school’s annual “Knights in Action” service project Aug. 21.
Students volunteered at more than 35 locations around town, where they did a variety of service work — from yardwork to fixing up the interior of buildings, said Sarah
Rohleder, coordinator for community engagement and service at Bellarmine.
A group of about 19 students visited Nativity Academy, 529 E. Liberty St. Carol Nord, executive director of the school, explained that Nativity Academy depends heavily on the help of volunteers. The school offers fifth- through eighth-grades to urban youth.
After listening to Nord, the college students set to work doing odd jobs and painting one of the building’s exterior walls, as well as the walls of the school’s new teachers’ lounge.
Rohleder said Bellarmine has already heard from some organizations in the community, thanking them for the students’ work.
Her office received a thank you note from La Casita Center, she said, thanking students for helping to set up a celebration in honor of Father James Flynn’s 90th birthday celebration, which was held at the center Aug. 25.
“This was a launching point for students to engage with the community,” said Rohleder.
“It’s important for them to cultivate a sense of community on and off campus whether they’ve lived in Louisville all their life or new to the area. It’s part of the Bellarmine mission and the Merton spirit.”