From joining a student group to meeting people in your residence hall, there are countless ways to start a college experience. For the 80 first-year students in the Public Leadership College Park Scholars program, there’s no better way than serving the campus and local communities. On Friday, August 27, 70 Public Leadership freshmen, with the support of 12 sophomore peer mentors, did good as the entry point to their undergraduate career, just a few days before the start of classes.
A Scholars tradition for 25 years, Service Day reflects the University of Maryland’s commitment to service and the importance of building community. The event offers Scholars a chance to not only get connected with the local community, but also with their fellow students, faculty and staff, forming bonds that will last throughout their time at College Park. Participants head out to sites all around the College Park area to volunteer with a variety of local organizations.
This year, the 80 students involved in the Public Leadership program volunteered at three sites as part of Service Day: Leveling the Playing Field, Interfaith Works Clothing Center and the Campus Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.
“Service day gives first year students an opportunity to learn about Maryland communities, have fun, and get to know each other,” said Susannah Washburn, director of the Public Leadership Program. Through service, students learn about the roles nonprofits play in supporting area communities and how they can get involved.”
The Public Leadership Scholars program, sponsored in part through the School of Public Policy, centers on developing leadership skills through a rigorous curriculum that integrates group dialogue, role-playing and panel discussions with hands-on service experiences in order to tackle our world’s most pressing social, political, environmental and economic problems.
“[As a peer mentor], not only did I get to welcome new students to a campus that I love, but I was able to get to know each of them while helping the community around us,” said Abigail Elson ’24. “College Park Scholars is all about fostering a group of well-rounded students, and service day emphasized for me that CP Scholars students are leaders in many different contexts.”