DIGITAL ORIGINAL: College community service project adapts to COVID-19

Lancaster

ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) — Elizabethtown College students are participating in community service projects all week as part of the 27th Annual Into the Streets event.

Due to COVID-19, Into the Streets looks a little different this year than it has in the past. Typically, students would engage in group projects like raking yards or assisting at a fall festival. This year, though, the projects are completed remotely or in very small groups.

That may not be all bad, though, says Hannah Smith, student assistant for Elizabethtown College’s Center for Community and Civic Engagement. Smith is a junior at the college and helped plan this year’s Into the Streets.

“We weren’t able to be out in the community as much this year, but I think it still has resonated because we’re still able to do meaningful things for people,” Smith says. Over 200 volunteers signed up for projects.

Students stop by the Brossman Commons at designated times to pick up supplies for their projects. Then they complete the projects elsewhere and come back to drop them off once they’re finished. Some other projects, such as recording book readings to share with young children, can be completed entirely remotely.

“We’re getting feedback that a lot of people liked the remote options,” says Smith, who hopes to see remote projects continue to be offered at future Into the Streets events.

Elizabethtown College’s motto is “educate for service,” and Smith says the campus embraces that idea.

“I think it’s just really cool to be part of something that’s bigger than yourself,” Smith says. “I think [college students] are so focused on what we’re doing and where our paths are leading us and all our work…but it’s really cool to take a step back and help others.”

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