Keene State College’s First-Year Orientation program is not just a week to get acclimated to the campus, but also a time to give back to the community.

Photos contributed by Casey Justice and taken by Will Wrobel

Photos contributed by Casey Justice and taken by Will Wrobel

The Orientation program has received the award for Outstanding Volunteer Group from the Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention (MCVP).

Coordinator of Community Service at KSC Jessica Gagne Cloutier said, “This is an award given annually to a group that supports the work on Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention.”

MCVP is an organization located in Jaffrey, N.H., and their main mission, according the MCVP Board of Directors, is to create a community-based environment where interpersonal violence has been replaced by equality, empowerment and emotional and physical safety.

During the New Student Orientation week, on Community Service Day, over 900 students were assigned different community services projects throughout Keene. One of the service projects that students participated in was building four boardwalks over stream crossings along the Gramwick Trail in Jaffrey.

Photos contributed by Casey Justice and taken by Will Wrobel

Photos contributed by Casey Justice and taken by Will Wrobel

Additionally, students washed and sanitized all resident wheelchairs at Westwood Center, spent time visiting with children at Keene Day Care and completed beautification along about 15 miles of road. Twenty other projects were completed by various orientation groups during this year’s Community Service Day alone.

KSC is a college that looks to integrate community involvement amongst all the students here, Director of Transitions & Parent Programs Casey Justice said.

“Keene State College is a part of the Keene community. We want new students to exemplify our motto, ‘Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve,’ and what better way to do this than by having it be a part of one of the first programs that they participate in,” Justice said. “This past year signified our third year of collaborating with the Community Service Office and the [Keene] community, and we hope to maintain this tradition for many years to come.”

Photos contributed by Casey Justice and taken by Will Wrobel

Photos contributed by Casey Justice and taken by Will Wrobel

In terms of the award, Justice said, “It is quite an honor for the Keene State College orientation program to win this award. The college works very closely with MCVP in a variety of ways, and this is just one small piece of that community effort that we want new students to be a part of.”

Senior and Orientation Leader Emma Hamilton said, “The orientation program includes community service day because it gives students a chance to give back to the community that they are about to be apart of.”

Hamilton has also served as an orientation leader. “In the past two years, I have stressed to my group about how important it is to give back because you are not only apart of the KSC community, but you have now immersed yourself in something bigger,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton said, “Big or small, our students make an impact.”

Individuals from MCVP were unable to respond for comment.

First-year Orientation Coordinators Bailey St. Laurent and Eric Walsh did not respond for comment.

Molly Spooner can be contacted at mspooner@kscequinox.com