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Warren Wilson College new student orientation includes day of service

Undergraduates will volunteer at 13 Buncombe County organizations

Undergraduates get more out of their first-week orientation at Warren Wilson College than just a primer on campus operations. For the last 26 years, first-year and transfer students have been spending a day working with organizations across Buncombe County. The day serves as an introduction to the College’s community engagement curriculum.

On Thursday, roughly 200 students and faculty and staff members will participate in the College’s 27th Service Day. For the eighth straight year, Service Day focuses on food security and also includes efforts to increase access to outdoor educational spaces.

“We’re grateful to have 13 partners working with us this year,” said Brooke Millsaps, assistant dean of the Center for Community Engagement at Warren Wilson College. “This day provides significant impact for the community partners as they count on us year after year. For students, they also start to understand the place they will call home.”

In a given year, Warren Wilson undergraduates collectively contribute more than 50,000 hours of service to 258 community partners. The effort led to a $420,000 economic impact in Buncombe County for 2014-15. Last month, The Princeton Review ranked Warren Wilson College No. 10 among schools with “students most engaged in community service.”

Partners for Warren Wilson College’s 2017 Service Day are Asheville Greenworks/Sand Hill Community Orchard, The Lord’s Acre, Black Mountain Elementary School, Dr. Wilson’s Community Garden, Owen Middle School, Swannanoa Community Garden, Bounty & Soul, ArtSpace Charter School, Evergreen Charter School, Shiloh Community Garden, Mountain Area Residential Facilities, Verner Center for Early Learning with The Roots Foundation, and Loving Food Resources.

Service, now called community engagement, has been a Warren Wilson College graduation requirement since 1959. Service Day launched in the middle of a semester in 1990. While not required the first year, student participation was high enough to garner support for an annual event.

For more information about Warren Wilson College’s Center for Community Engagement programming, visit