Indiana State University Newsroom

New students introduced to community service

August 20, 2014

The sounds of hammering, sweeping and tilling could be heard all around Terre Haute and beyond Monday as new freshman students participated in Indiana State University's Fall Donaghy Day.

The morning dedicated to community service requires students to travel to a nonprofit organizations and provide helpful services.

Locations included the Lighthouse Mission thrift store, Boys and Girls Club, March of Dimes and the Vigo County Parks Department. And this year, students journeyed to surrounding communities including Clinton and Marshall, Ill.

"It's a challenge to find a meaningful project for everybody to do at the same time, so we needed to expand," said Nancy Rogers, associate vice president for community engagement and experiential learning.

Donaghy Day has grown not only in locations, but also in the number of students participating. Starting in 1976 with 400 student volunteers, it has grown to around 1,800 new student participants this year.

As a part of the new student Fall Welcome program, students first heard about Donaghy Day during their new student orientation. It would be tough not to hear of the day of service. Efforts of encouragement were occurring everywhere and by everyone, including welcome team and blue team leaders and residential assistants.

"Being a welcome team leader, we are here to get the freshmen really involved in community service because ISU is so heavily involved," said Rodney Lockman, a junior biology major from Terre Haute.

This year was Lockman's third year participating in Donaghy Day.

"I've definitely [learned] the importance of community service," he said, noting Washington Monthly magazine ranked Indiana State the top university in the nation for community service last year. "With ISU being number one they really push that a lot."

"[Donaghy Day] is a great way to introduce our first year students to how important community engagement is to the university," Rogers said. "It's good for the students because it's a low pressure way to get to know their peers because they're busy doing a task, but while they're doing that they can talk to one another. And the work they do really will make a difference for our nonprofit partners."

Although many participants may have been new to community service, they were cognizant of their contributions.

"This is my first time doing volunteer work so I didn't really know what to expect coming into it," said Hayley Warren, a freshman criminology major from Whiteland. "It's just really cool to see how everyone can contribute in some different way and getting a big group out here like this helps them get their job done faster."

Warren spent her day cleaning the construction site for a new house being built by Habitat for Humanity. Other students at the same location picked up outside trash, installed insulation and helped with siding and roofing.

"I think it's good for all of us to be out here and do something today," Warren said. "[In] the whole aspect of getting involved this is probably one of the easiest, quickest [and most] straightforward ways to do it. You're not usually coming out with a big group of people specifically [to volunteer]. [You meet people who] share common interests and you both care about giving back to the community."

Staff at the Next Step Foundation's Meeting Grounds coffee shop on Washington Avenue in Terre Haute appreciated students' help with gardening and landscaping.

"[They are] providing services to help beautify the place," Nancy Moore, assistant manager, said. "They are helping tremendously."

Students who volunteer for Donaghy Day "realize that ISU is really focused on community and building relationships with other people outside of [the] community," Warren said. "They do really care about giving back."

Photo: - Indiana State University students help build a Habitat for Humanity House during the university's fall Donaghy Day Aug. 18, 2014. (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Photo: - Students pitch it to do some painting at Hawthorn Park in northern Vigo County during Indiana State University's fall Donaghy Day of Service.

Photo: - Indiana State University students participating in Donaghy Day Aug. 18, 2014 trim some bushes outside the Next Step Foundation's Meeting Grounds coffee shop in Terre Haute. (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Contact: Nancy Rogers, associate vice president for community engagement and experiential learning, Indiana State University, 812-237-2474 or

Writer: Sadie all, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773 or





Story Highlights

1,800 income freshman took part in Indiana State University's Fall Donaghy Day of service to community organizations in Terre Haute and other Wabash Valley communities.

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