'ShmenCORPS recruits 300 first-years

by Maura Henninger | 9/25/97 5:00am

Almost 300 first-year students gathered on the Green last Saturday to participate in 'ShmenCORPS, a day of service for the Upper Valley community. Modeled on last spring's overwhelmingly successful DarCORPS, Saturday's event was created, organized, and carried out by a team of College students, with support from the Tucker Foundation.

Scott Brown, the Director of the Tucker Foundation, said 'ShmenCORPS has several purposes. Most important, he said, is to get the students out into the community to see what sorts of opportunities there are for service.

"Hanover is an unusual island. We want to make sure students see the whole picture," he said.

In addition, the day gave first-year students the chance to get to know one another in a laid-back atmosphere.

"Because the students were in small groups they really got to interact with other students as well as the agencies they were working at. I think students also had strong experiences with their upperclassmen leaders," said event co-chair Zoe McLaren '00.

The spirit of the participants seemed high despite the Saturday's rain. Students undertook various jobs ranging from building a DOC cabin at Happy Hill to trail maintenance for Hartford Parks and Recreation.

"It was great to have a day like that early on, as we all found out right away just how many opportunities there are for community service. We also found out how rewarding and fun helping others is," said Elizabeth Kleinerman '01.

At the end of the afternoon, participants met back on the lawn in front of Baker Library for a barbecue and party, which was then moved into Thayer Dining Hall because of the rain. A local band, Frydaddies, provided entertainment.

At the barbecue, William Sloane Coffin, a 1960s anti-war and civil rights activist and former Yale chaplain, addressed the students.

"His message to students was to stay true to their values and not to put them aside because of the stresses of being a student," according to Brown.

Planning for 'ShmenCORPS began at the end of spring term and continued throughout the summer with McLaren and co-chair Nancy Bloomfield '99 heading up several committees. In August, mailings were sent to 2001s and the response was huge.

"We got responses from close to 500 people, but we had capped the number at 250 because that's all the transportation we could arrange for," explained Brown.

On the actual day of the event almost 300 students showed up, and all were able to be placed in jobs, McLaren said. Next year, Brown said, 'ShmenCORPS will be doubled in capacity.

The event was entirely funded by the International Rotary Club of Hanover.

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