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MC students get involved

Photo by Janelle Patterson Easton Berry, center, and Stephanie Sydenstricker, left, explain during the campus involvement fair at Marietta College Friday the opportunity to serve local high school students with special needs.

Several local businesses and nonprofits made sure to set up shop on the campus of Marietta College Friday to recruit returning and new students.

“These students are invaluable to us,” said Glenna Hoff, education director for the Campus Martius and Ohio River museums. “I work around their schedules so that they can get their service hours in, and it’s a lot of fun to get to know them.”

Whether that service opportunity falls in the manual labor category for nonprofits, keeping local museums running behind the scenes or landing a mentorship opportunity with a local business, the campus staff and faculty have also tried to focus this year’s return to campus with a broader picture.

“We hope they will find groups and organizations to connect with beyond the perimeter of Putnam, Seventh, Fourth and Greene,” noted Dean of Students Richard Danford as he helped nonprofits set up tables along the Christy Mall for the fall involvement fair.

Ely Chapman Education Foundation and Papa John’s were both present, offering to interview students for part-time paid work, while programs like Pioneer Pipeline drew the focus of several Mid-Ohio Valley natives as an opportunity to serve.

Stephanie Sydenstricker, a junior from Belpre, and Easton Berry, a senior from Ripley, W.Va., explained their draw to the program built for local high school students with special needs.

“This fair gets in the same place as all of the organizations on and off-campus that recruit and lets people outside of our education major know they can work with us and have fun with the teens we love,” said Sydenstricker.

According to Mary Ella Bauer, of Devola, the program currently serves high school students from Marietta, Warren Local, Waterford and Noble Local high schools.

And that local impact is why Laci Hashman, 18, and Mackenzie Kelley, 18, of St. Marys, W.Va., were intrigued by the program, asking what types of activities Pioneer Pipe participates in and hearing feedback about games in the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center.

“I like the idea of helping people, especially locally,” said Kelley, a psychology major.

“And I have a friend who has siblings with special needs so getting to be a part of that here would be rewarding,” added Hashman.

Other rewarding options featured at the fair included Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s Purse, Americorps and Health Professionals Affinity Community and the Marietta Area Recreation Center.

“And beginning this year all students are required to complete experiential education outside of the classroom,” explained business professor Jacqueline Khorassani, who was sharing information Friday about the Mid-Ohio Valley Entrepreneurship Expo and the PioPitch program. “That experience can be through community service, through internships and special projects that specifically benefit our community and our local economy.”

Mid-Ohio Valley Players member Jena Blair said she was excited to see the influx of students back to campus.

“We are thrilled when the college kids come back each year and some of their graduates even join our membership for a time and act with us or work with our productions,” said Blair. “Some have come down on the weekends when we hold workdays to help with theatrical lights.”

Janelle Patterson can be reached at jpatterson@mariettatimes.com.

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