In what has become a fall tradition on the Island, the freshman class took part in local service and stewardship projects on Wednesday, October 16, while sophomores and juniors took the PSATs and seniors worked on their college applications.
For Freshman Service Day, the Class of 2023 fanned out across campus and into the community to engage with the school’s neighbors and take part in service projects. The annual event is organized by Loomis' Community Service Program, Norton Family Center for the Common Good, and the Dean of Students Office to add context to Freshman Seminar discussions of altruism, philanthropy, and service.
After breakfast, the more than 160 students — including several senior members of the student-run Pelican Service Organization — and two dozen faculty leaders broke into 13 project groups and set off for their locations on and off campus.
Focusing on the environment, one group harvested produce and cleared weeds from the school agricultural gardens while another group cleared debris and freshened up the landscaping around Clover Street Elementary School in the town of Windsor.
A number of student groups connected with people in surrounding communities. Several students joined in a music and memory project with residents of Seabury Meadows, an assisted-living community for senior citizens in need of memory support. Another group helped sort and organize pantry goods at Loaves & Fishes soup kitchen in Enfield.
Making connections at local schools, some freshmen joined learning activities with students at Windsor's Oliver Ellsworth Elementary School, and others interacted with students on the autism spectrum at the River Street School, also in Windsor. A group helped clean up and organize a free supplies closet for students at Sage Park Middle School in Windsor while another group collected a van-load of donated children’s books from across the Island and delivered them to the Wish School in Hartford.
Several groups participated in crafts projects with the aim of providing comfort to people in neighboring towns and cities. In the Richmond Art Center on campus, several freshmen worked in the ceramics studio making bowls to contribute to Loomis' donation to the Empty Bowls Project, a hunger awareness and fundraising effort that supports a regional food bank. Other groups fashioned “no-sew” cozy fleece blankets to give to senior citizens and children during the upcoming holiday season; painted inspirational and supportive messages on “kindness rocks” to be distributed locally; and assembled 47 winter comfort kits for homeless people and delivered them to a shelter in Hartford.
Both inspirational and fun, according to several of the participants, Freshman Service Day allowed students to get to know one another a little better and work alongside faculty members and deans. The exercise also served as an introduction to some of the service and stewardship opportunities in which Loomis students may participate.
Connect to a gallery of photos from Freshman Service Day 2019.