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FHSU students ready to serve

8/18/2013

By RANDY GONZALES

By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

Sadie Lungren didn't know what to expect for the inaugural Big Day Out orientation service project for new Fort Hays State University students.

Lungren, a senior from Arkansas City, is an orientation assistant who helped plan the event, starting six long months ago.

Saturday morning was the big day, and the turnout was more than she could have hoped for, with approximately 65 students signed up.

"We had way more people than I thought we were going to have, originally," Lungren said.

Lungren and Brett Bruner, the director of persistence and retention at FHSU, brainstormed the idea last fall.

"We wanted to make sure we were introducing students to the core values of the university, one of those being civic engagement and service," Bruner said.

Students who signed up were able to choose which project they wanted to be a part of; there were projects involving physical labor, but other ones as well.

Among the choices were cleanup for a 5K run put on by the Hays Recreation Commission; delivering posters for the Hays Area Children's Center; sorting through donated clothes for Jana's Campaign; cleanup at Sternberg Museum of Natural History; doing yard work at two different locations for Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas; writing letters to troops stationed overseas and writing letters to sick children at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Freshmen Emilee Kuhlmann and Tammy Nguyen, both from Russell, each chose to write letters to the sick kids.

"I think what the kids are going through is very hard, and continuing to fight at their age is something very difficult," Nguyen said. "I just like to send my wishes and prayers to them in a more intimate way by writing these cards."

Kuhlmann echoed similar sentiments, saying the kids were her heroes.

"I just really wanted to do this one because I just want to make some little kid smile," she said.

Lungren was smiling after the students were sent off to their different service projects.

"My hope is this becomes an annual tradition, and we not get just new students, but returners as well, that want to meet the new students and get them accustomed to being here," Lungren said.