Baylor Students Take 'First Step' Into Community Service Aug. 18

Aug. 17, 2007

by Paige Patton, communication specialist, (254) 710-3321

In an event that will help instill in new students a dedication to service, more than a thousand Baylor University freshmen will participate in the "First Step" community service project at 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, in Downtown Waco and on Baylor's campus.

As part of their Welcome Week experience, approximately 1,200 new students will provide clean-up efforts to dozens of Downtown Waco businesses and locations. They will paint, clean graffiti, plant flowers, clean windows, cut grass and clear trash at nearly 40 job sites in the downtown area. At 10:30 a.m., a short ceremony will be held at Eighth St. and Franklin Ave. next to the Waco Hippodrome Theatre. Scott Baker will speak on behalf of the Downtown Merchants Association and Waco Mayor Virginia DuPuy will make a proclamation, said Sherri Street, executive director of Keep Waco Beautiful.

In addition to the significant amount of work in Downtown Waco, many Baylor students will work to frame a house on campus for Baylor Habitat for Humanity. The framing is part of Project Build Hope and coincides with the 20th anniversary of Baylor's Habitat for Humanity chapter--the nation's first collegiate chapter of the non-profit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry.

"I hope that the incoming class will see the dedication and commitment that Baylor has to positively impact our local community," said Karin Klinger, associate director of student activities. "I hope they will take ownership in this house and see that it is something they have poured themselves into and that a local family will never be the same because of their effort. I want to see this project take some significant strides in helping us connect better with the local community."

"The desire to do something good pulls everyone together in Baylor Habitat," said Sonya Maness, a senior archaeology and museum studies major from Houston and president of Baylor Habitat for Humanity. "I look forward to letting freshmen know what Habitat is about."

The house will be moved to its permanent location after Welcome Week and is scheduled to be completed in November, but until it can be moved, the frame will stay on campus for a week while students and Habitat members will sign the frame with encouraging messages for the future homeowners.

Other students will work along the Brazos River in an effort to repair damage from summer flooding and get the parks open for the public, Klinger said.

A celebration of service will take place at noon on Saturday outside the Bill Daniel Student Center.

For more information, contact Klinger at (254) 710-6936 or Karin_Klinger@baylor.edu or Street at (254) 750-5728.

For information about Baylor Habitat, contact Anna Sauer, treasurer, at Anna_Sauer@baylor.edu or Stephanie Wall, secretary, at Stephanie_Wall@baylor.edu.

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