DOVER — Calling on their core values of community and outreach, more than 300 Delaware State University students and other volunteers spread throughout the state Saturday to generally make it a better place.
The school launched its fifth annual “Inspired Day of Service” in the rain, and there was much work to accomplish in the 4 1/2 hours that followed.
The volunteers engaged in cleanup projects and played Legos with kids, assembled 10,000 packages for Delaware food banks, and contributed for a Habitat for Humanity build endeavor in Dover. In Georgetown, participants wrote letters of support for U.S. troops overseas, and assisted at a Community Fitness and Fun day.
Activities were planned for New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties.
Robert Price, resident director for the University Village complex, prepared to join an assembly line for food packages pulling together dehydrated vegetables, a protein mix, soy product and rice.
“For me the great thing about this is that everyone comes together as a group to accomplish something that couldn’t be done individually,” Mr. Price said. “It’s also way for people to see DSU representatives contributing to the community.”
Freshman Kanisha Tyus of Dover anticipated her new university experience, adding to her natural community support inclinations that already included working in the Social Work Club and Fairy Godmothers Club of Delaware.
“It’s something that’s always done here,” Ms. Tyus said. “Everyone has been talking about it.”
A productive start to a rainy weekend was in store as some students left on buses for their destinations.
“Just being able to give to others by taking a Saturday that you wouldn’t do much other than watch television,” Mr. Price said.
Clutching their coffee mugs and looking sleepy eyed, that wasn’t apparently evident for some who gathered at the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center for a kickoff ceremony.
Mr. Price said there wasn’t much energy or enthusiasm “at first, but the students get into it as the day goes on. It changes your mood. By the end of the day they’ll be laughing, smiling, giving each other high fives and having a great time with it.”
Spending much of his time inside an administrative office and rarely outside on campus, Vaughn Hopkins of the Institutional Research department was happy to aid the efforts. He was accompanied by his wife and youngest daughter, and his older daughter missed only because she was on a spring break trip overseas.
“It gives me a place to go and interact with the students and build relationships with them,” Mr. Hopkins said.
The day allowed DSU Inspire Scholarship students to add required community service hours for the semester. Non-Inspire students also arrived to support the cause, meeting the university’s expectations that “our graduates always have given to others,” according to DSU President Harry L. Williams. Also, he added, “The bottom line is that you are worth a lot.”
DSU Student Government Association President Isaiah Covington closed the opening ceremony with the words, “When you put inspire and service together the result is impact.”