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In the Community

Two Days & 9,000 Hours Begins Year-Long Commitment of 115,000 Hours of Service by Commencement

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 20, 2012)—Before classes begin, 720 American University students will contribute more than 9,000 hours of community service by canvassing neighborhoods encouraging citizens to register to vote, preparing meals, cleaning parks, and working with children, senior citizens, and veterans at more than 50 sites across the Washington, D.C. area as part of the university’s 23rd annual Freshman Service Experience.

Some of the sites where students will volunteer include:
Armed Forces Retirement Home—gardening and outdoor cleaning. Note: Several veterans who will be enrolling at AU this fall will be among the students at this site. 

Capital Area Food Bank—preparing meals.

Downtown Cluster’s Geriatric Day Care Center—working with senior citizens to create puzzles.

Shadd Education Center—canvassing the neighborhoods about changes in GED regulations.

Emergence Community Arts Collective—creating/painting an outdoor display mural.

These two days of service by American University’s freshmen class kicks off a year-long pledge for the entire university community to contribute more than 115,000 our service in the community by commencement on May 11, 2013. Last year, the AU community contributed 100,000 hours of service in Washington, D.C. and around the world through at several alternative break program locations.   

“Part of why the Freshman Service Experience began is the need to really engage incoming freshmen in the community in a very meaningful way,” explains Robin Adams, assistant director of AU’s Center for Community Engagement & Service. “Just as importantly is that it ties into our values of social justice work as an institution.”

The Freshman Service Experience brings together incoming students and upperclassmen student mentors to encourage AU’s strong foundation of public service. The program quickly immerses students into the AU and Washington, D.C., communities while helping them make friends before classes begin on Aug. 27.

Since 1990, the Freshman Service Experience has grown from a group of 30 freshmen students serving in the community to more than 600 freshmen and transfer students volunteering at 52 sites this year. Overall, more than 10,000 students have logged 221,712 hours of service through the freshman service experience tradition.

WHO: 600 American University freshmen & 106 upperclassmen leaders

WHAT: Volunteering at a broad network of community-based organizations, global and national
non-profits and local schools before classes even begin

WHERE: 50 sites across the District of Columbia

WHEN: Wednesday, August 22 and Thursday, Aug. 23; start/end times vary for each site

DETAILS: ONLY selected sites are open to media visits. Please contact Maralee Csellar, AU’s Univ. Communications Office, at 202-885-5952 or to coordinate a visit to one of the open sites.   

Map: AU student designed map of all 52 location sites.