Lyon College introduced its newest class to community service as part of its orientation week. For the Weeks of Welcome (WOW) project, new students assembled over 20,000 meals for Batesville’s Help and Hope with the nonprofit, The Pack Shack.
Divided into different stations, the students packed bags with non-perishable food items, but the project was not all work and no play.
“It’s a fun party. You get to dance, and you get to learn that serving can be fun,” said Pack Shack Operations Manager Samantha Keith.
“As soon as we’re done with the instructions, we smash the gong three times, turn up the music and get the party started.”
“This service project is a great opportunity for students to get a feel for community service. Plus it’s fun,” said junior Laura Mendez, who participated for the third year in a row.
Director of Student Engagement Unswella Ankton added that the project hits home for Lyon students.
“We’re a service-oriented institution, and we have students who struggle with food insecurity in their families. It was super important for us to show them that not only do we care about them and their families but also the greater community,” she said.
Ankton shared that Lyon will also save some of the meals for their students and send meals to the Arkansas Foodbank.
The Rev. Margaret Alsup, college chaplain, and members of her office staff helped with the service project. Rev. Alsup said the project supports Lyon’s mission to educate the whole student, which prepares him or her for a commitment to lifelong learning and service.
"We begin this work as soon as students move on to campus during Weeks of Welcome, with a community wide service project,” she explained.
In addition to service work, WOW also includes activities such as a silent disco, the annual freshman raft race, and the Amazing Race. Student Life partners with the Lyon Education Adventure Program to host the Amazing Race, where students participate in challenges all over campus.
WOW will conclude next Thursday with the Summer Experience Fair, where upperclassmen will present on their summer internships.
For the full WOW schedule, visit lyon.edu/weeks-of-welcome-schedule.