During Welcome Week—Geneva College’s orientation for first-year students—over 300 new students were seen out and about in the surrounding community performing a myriad of service jobs. The event was Our Town 2012, a community-service event that introduces new students to the ethics and ideals of Geneva.
“Our Town is a special day of learning and service that unites new students and introduces them to the broader community of Beaver Falls through a service experience together,” said Missy Nyeholt, Director of Geneva’s Center for Faith and Practice. “Our Town provides an opportunity for students to begin to think about what it means to be a servant-leader and to begin to ask questions about why service is an important part of their experience at Geneva College.”
From 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., students and other volunteers worked at over a dozen different locations, including the Beaver River Rails to Trails nature restoration program, the Tiger Pause youth ministry, the Carnegie Free Library of Beaver Falls, Habitat for Humanity, Pine Valley Bible Camp, the Beaver Falls Mayor's Office and Geneva’s own Pisgah Program. They donated more than 1,500 hours of service to bettering the community.
“The fact that I arrived at the park, spent three hours there, and was able to undo decades of negligence showed the potential behind community service,” stated Andrew Calvetti ’16. He worked at the CityView Playground, removing debris. “People are more inclined to litter when following others,” he added, explaining that the standard set by a spotless playground could deter future litterbugs.
Geneva hopes to set standards for its freshman via the service day, too, as Nyeholt explains: “Our Town provides an introductory step for students to be involved in the local community by partnering with organizations in the area. We believe that students have much to learn from the broader community.”
This year students also had the opportunity to meet Beaver Falls residents at local churches and hear from them about life in Beaver Falls and the importance of being a part of a church community while in college. These panel discussions were facilitated by Geneva staff and provided students the chance to interact with their neighbors in the community and learn from those they went on to serve during the Our Town service day.
Geneva College is a comprehensive Christian college of the arts, sciences and professional studies. Founded in the tradition of the Reformed Christian faith, Geneva prepares students to serve Christ in all areas of society: work, family and the church. Geneva College’s philosophy of education is based on the Foundational Concepts of Christian Higher Education. Geneva is a founding member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).