WVU students living, learning, serving in community

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — WVU students won’t begin classes until Wednesday. But, they’ve already contributed to their new community and home.

“They’re going to be everywhere. Literally if there’s some place that you see that service might be needed or an adventure to be had, there’s going to be a student there,” said Kristi Wood-Turner with the WVU Center for Service and Learning.

Over the weekend, students moved into campus housing. Then, it was time to learn the importance of working hard, playing smart and service.

“The team has worked really hard to put 150 different types of project, whether that’s just a fun adventure in town or an adventure tagged with some service or just service alone. They’re out there getting an experience of a Mountaineer from the day they step on campus,” noted Wood-Turner.

It actually begins well before move in.

“They come; they do a service on the go project at new student orientation with their parents when they come. We talk about the Million Hour Match. They signed up for these projects on their own a few weeks ago,” she added.

Saturday, 900 Honors College freshmen spent time working on the Falling Run Trail Project, at the Ronald McDonald House Charities and North Elementary School.

Part of the group also traveled to Clay County High School and surrounding area to assist with flood cleanup.

Sunday’s schedule included packing a tractor-trailer full of food into backpacks for kids in need in West Virginia.

In 2015 the university announced the Million Hour Match initiative.

A webpage – iServe.wvu.edu – was created in 2011 though where potential service projects are posted. Students can sign up online and so can other volunteers. The university set a goal last year to have 2 million hours of service recorded – a million from the WVU community – and a million from state residents – by 2018.

The initiative continues to grow.

“Let me tell you, the community steps right up with projects and ideas that can really keep the students not only involved but help them understand, learn, create, innovate, become passionate about something,” shared Wood-Turner.

While students may spend part of Monday and Tuesday before fall classes begin hiking, paddle boarding, rafting, cycling, mountain biking and more – they’re also part of a model for volunteering and service-learning.