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DePauw student volunteers aid Dana tree-planting project

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Nearly a dozen DePauw University male students will travel to Dana in western Indiana Saturday to help the community plant trees along two principal streets where more than 100-year-old trees had to be replaced because of a new sewer system.

The students, members of DePauw's Phi Delta Theta social fraternity, will be assisting the Vermillion County Soil and Water Conservation District in Newport, and volunteers from the Dana community of around 500 residents.

The newly planted trees are the result of a grant to the Town of Dana from the State of Indiana's Urban Forests Project for the Department of Natural Resources and gifts from current and former residents.

More than 125 trees have been planted in the Urban Forest Project since last year, according to Meg Leader of the Soil and Water Conservation District.

"The volunteer work of the students and other volunteers will have a large environmental impact on Dana, including reduction of runoff from rains, reducing rainstorm damage, serving as a temperature barrier, and enhancing the attractiveness of the community," Leader added.

"The state and Dana community are appreciative of the young fraternity men coming all the way (50 miles) from Greencastle to Dana to help improve the town of Dana," Leader continued. "I know that DePauw heavily emphasizes and monitors community service by students through its Kathryn Fortune Hubbard Center for Student Engagement."

In a university-sponsored survey of the 2012-13 academic year, which ended last May, DePauw men and women students performed a total of 17,657 hours (or about 550 hours per week) through the university's structured volunteer program.

Through a variety of DePauw programs, including the First Year Service Plunge, the School of Music, Civic Fellows, Bonner Scholars, DePauw Community Service Volunteers, Sports Night for community youth in the Lilly Center, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and Best Buddies, students are reaching out to the community.

Other community partners that work with DePauw to provide volunteer opportunities include Head Start, the Reading Improvement Center, tutoring at Gobin United Methodist Church, Student Friends at Greencastle Middle School, Tzouanakis Intermediate, Central Elementary, Deer Meadow, Fillmore and Ridpath schools.

Also, Asbury Towers Retirement Home Senior Friend, Adopt-a-Grandparent, Putnam County Family Support Services, Tots Times, College Mentor for Kids, JumpstART and the Humane Society of Putnam County.

"Our goal is to serve even more people in the Greencastle community during the coming year," said Raj Bellani, dean of experiential education and career planning and director of the Hubbard Center.

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This is all very "symbolic" work. Most of these students are not involved in heavy physical labor, nor have they had that sort of experience before.

Of the many I have worked with, very few really accomplished anything, but those few actually had worked to support themselves long before college. I think as much PR is generated, as the "volunteer work"

-- Posted by vwthing on Fri, Nov 1, 2013, at 7:41 AM

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