Westminster College students serve Fulton community during freshman orientation week

Westminster College senior Spencer Smith fills up a bucket with water to water plants in downtown Fulton on Wednesday, Aug. 20. Smith and about 33 freshman planted and weeded in the Brick District. Westminster sets aside time for freshman to do community service during their orientation week. Smith said he did yard work during orientation week his freshman year, too.

Westminster College senior Spencer Smith fills up a bucket with water to water plants in downtown Fulton on Wednesday, Aug. 20. Smith and about 33 freshman planted and weeded in the Brick District. Westminster sets aside time for freshman to do community service during their orientation week. Smith said he did yard work during orientation week his freshman year, too. Photo by Megan Favignano.

Westminster College freshman Pierce Barnes pushed a shovel into the dirt in front of the Brick District sign. He scooped out the dirt and tossed it aside.

Westminster freshman Kortney Mumaugh placed flowers in the hole and spread the dirt back over to fill it in.

“Look at what we did,” Mumaugh said after stepping back to admire their work.

About 33 Westminster students planted flowers, added mulch around trees and pulled weeds in the Brick District on Wednesday, Aug. 20. Westminster senior Spencer Smith looked at the flowers in front of the Brick District sign.

“Now, every time you guys drive by here you can think, ‘I helped make that look pretty,’” Smith said looking at the group of students.

Westminster’s 225 freshman helped throughout the Fulton community that day as part of freshman orientation week. Students’ service included planting and weeding a garden at Presbyterian Manor, cleaning at Churchill Terrace as well as the work they did in the Brick District.

Students were not told what project they would be helping with until just before they left campus on Wednesday. Westminster freshman Sidonie Allen helped add mulch to trees on Court Street. Although it was a hot day, Allen said she enjoyed the time they spent helping in the community.

“This isn’t as bad as I thought it would be and you can see the difference,” Allen said.

A member of the community stopped to shake Allen’s mulch-covered hand and to say thank you.

Kari Lenz, Westminster fellow for community engagement and service learning, said community service is part of the college’s mission and the school likes to get students involved in service as early as possible.

“We hope they go back during their four years at Westminster,” Lenz said.

Westminster has included a day of service in its freshman orientation week since 2008. Lenz said the college tries to find community organizations that have little projects they need help to complete. Westminster has a few organizations that have been on its list every year, like Our House and Presbyterian Manor. Lenz said the school tries to add some variety from year to year. This year was the first year in which students helped in the Brick District.

Garry Vaught, with Becks and the Brick District, said the district was happy to have the help. The Brick District bought mulch and flowers for the students to plant in downtown Fulton.

“This is wonderful,” Vaught said. “It’s a big help for us.”

Vaught said he hopes the students who helped in the Brick District had time to see more of Fulton’s downtown.

Lenz also said the service day can help students who are new to the area interact with Fulton. Mumaugh said walking from campus to the Brick District and spending time downtown helped her get a better sense of where things are in town.

Megan Favignano can be reached at (573) 826-2417 or megan@fultonsun.com.

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