Incoming Wilkes Freshmen Volunteer in the Community

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WILKES-BARRE -- The start to the next college school year is still two months away, but droves of freshmen from Wilkes University are already in town.

If you saw groups of Wilkes students wearing their blue shirts around Wilkes-Barre on Monday, it's because the university's freshman orientation is going on this week.

Part of the school's welcome to Wilkes-Barre includes students volunteering all over the Diamond City.

From gardening at the Wilkes-Barre YMCA to painting a Pre-K room at Building Blocks Day Care Center on Route 315, incoming Wilkes University freshmen traveled throughout the community to volunteer.

They're giving back to the area that will soon be their new home.

"Because I'm so new here, it's a really different state than California. It's really nice to see everything, and everyone's really nice here," said freshman Lexis Santana.

"Wilkes University is very good at giving back to the community," said Wilkes University mentor Sarah Cole. "We value it. All our sports teams do it. Our clubs do it. We even have classes dedicated to it."

Their volunteerism is making a difference. The work that these students put into the Pre-K room is saving the day care in Plains Township hundreds of dollars.

"With the $600 we saved, we can buy equipment or do different things for our classroom," said Zubeen Saeed, Building Blocks president.

The students were also a big help to the Osterhout Free Library on South Franklin Street in Wilkes-Barre. They helped restock the library's book shop.

"This is a real godsend. It would take us probably two weeks to do this, and it's taken us a couple hours with these young people," said Friends of Osterhout president Irene Martin.

But the projects were about more than volunteering. Students learned to make a couple new friends along the way.

"It's nice meeting all the new people, exploring the town," said freshman Collin Moyer.

"I've met teachers I'm going to have, my advisers and my schedule's all planned out, so I'm ready to go," said freshman Kierstin Parricelli. "I wish school started tomorrow."

"It gives them the opportunity to get out in the community and see what they're operating around and it gives the community a chance to see who we're bringing in," said Wilkes University mentor Gabby Glinski.

Wilkes University's two-day orientation ended on Monday. Classes begin the end of August.

The incoming freshman class at Wilkes University is expected to be the school's largest ever, with more than 650 students.