Westminster College freshmen start off with service

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 25 2010 11:27 p.m. MDT

Lillian McKinlay works to take a tire off a bike at the Bicycle Collective on Tuesday.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Incoming Westminster College students fanned out to Sugar House and beyond Tuesday, performing community service projects to ring in the new school year.

Stephanie Tomlin, a senior who started a bike club on campus, led a group of freshmen on a ride across town to the Bicycle Collective on West Temple, a shop that offers transportation and education to low-income families and at-risk youth. The students repaired bikes that will go out to local charities.

"It's a good way to get them out in the community," Tomlin said. She said the ride to the shop also showed freshmen they could bike in the city instead of driving.

Other green-themed efforts dominated the list of more than 20 Helping Hands Day projects, including volunteering with Wasatch Community Gardens, Utah Open Lands and the Tree Utah Jordan River Project.

Eight groups spread out across Sugar House to assess how environmentally friendly properties in the area are as part of a "green-mapping" effort to inform the surrounding community.

Another group headed to 10,000 Villages, a nonprofit store featuring fair-trade, environmentally sustainable products from around the world, to help organize merchandise and tidy up the shop.

"They were super-excited about the philosophy" of the store, said Krista Bowers, its volunteer coordinator.

Westminster's campus also got some attention, with students and faculty cleaning up the bed of the creek that cuts through the school's grounds.

"Students are exposed to their local community and gain a greater awareness of community needs and how their efforts during that one day of service can truly make a significant difference," said Julie Tille, director of the college's Center for Civic Engagement.

The service projects wrap up several days of orientation at Westminster. Classes start on Wednesday.

Helping Hands Day was supported by grants from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Herbert I. and Elsa B. Michael Foundation.

e-mail: pkoepp@desnews.com

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