New Students Participate in Service Retreat
A group of students at a site during the Freshman Service Retreat.
While many of their peers were preparing to move into their residence halls and personalizing their new dorm rooms, a smaller group of Rider students spent the Saturday before the start of fall classes began sprucing up their neighboring communities.
As part the University’s Freshman Service Retreat, 85 new students and 15 upper-class leaders spent the afternoon of September 4 engaged in service projects throughout Mercer County. This year, the service retreat represented a collaboration between the Rider Community Scholars/Bonner Leaders program, the Rider SERVES community-service organization and the New Student Orientation staff as way to introduce new students to various service opportunities at the university. The participants were selected from a list of students who had applied during the summer orientations and also included incoming Rider Community Scholars/Bonner Leaders.
“The service retreat is an opportunity for incoming students to emerge themselves in a day of service before fall opening and classes begin,” explained Annie Pasqua, assistant director of Campus Life for Service Learning. “Hopefully, these students will continue to be engaged with service during their time here at Rider.”
Projects included clearing a lot for the Habitat for Humanity in Trenton; painting and sorting donations at the Rescue Mission in Trenton; painting and home visiting for Enable, Inc. in Hamilton Square and Princeton; painting for Catholic Charities of Trenton; painting for the YMCA of Trenton; gardening in the Community Garden in Trenton; and making a new trail in the Lawrence Nature Center.
Pasqua said the Community Garden in Trenton initially resulted from a project involving a Trenton-based civic group, including Rider senior Catherine Poole, last spring. The Freshman Service Retreat saw a team of Rider students spending the day making space for a flower bed and benches in the garden.
Rider SERVES Team Leaders Deanna Zabawa, a sophomore Finance and Economics dual major, and Steven Gable, a sophomore Secondary Education and Mathematics dual major, led a service project involving a team of nine new students at Catholic Charities in Trenton. The volunteers painted three rooms and organized a closet full of linens for Catholic Charities.
“The experience for me was rewarding to guide the students and also be able to participate for such a good cause,” Zabawa said. “The purpose of the retreat is for freshmen to experience community service and have them be open to new and different ways of giving back.”