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August 13, 2020
On Campus

Connecting in Community

Incoming Students Join Hagen Center and Springfield community in Service-Learning

Wittenberg’s service-centered mission continues to engage students as the University concludes its official Welcome Week for the class of 2024.

During a normal Welcome Week, community service coordinators from the Susan Hirt Hagen Center for Civic and Urban Engagement traditionally host the annual Service Plunge, which helps students explore the various options for service in the Springfield community, along with discussing the Wittenberg’s unique community service graduation requirement.

This year will be different, though, as students will be introduced to the Hagen Center itself, the hub of community service at Wittenberg, through a mini project in the more than 20 First-Year Seminar (FYS) meetings slated for Friday, Aug. 14, beginning at 9 a.m. This collaboration between the Hagen Center, the COMPASS: Sweet Success Center, and the Office of First-Year Seminar will allow Wittenberg students to connect with third graders at Springfield’s Promise Neighborhood, as well as learn all the ways Wittenberg and its hometown partner in service.

"We have a long tradition of service at Wittenberg, and it is important to demonstrate that commitment from the beginning. We are fortunate to have community partners like Kali Lawrence ’12 and Promise Neighborhood that find creative ways for our students to engage with Springfield during this challenging time," said Hagen Center Director Ed Hasecke, professor of political science and a 1997 Wittenberg alumnus.

In the initial project, students will be given a bracelet kit and letters to send a positive note to a group of third graders that could use the extra encouragement going into the challenging school year. Bracelets will serve as a visual reminder to Wittenberg students of the commitment they have made to themselves and to the third graders. The third graders will receive the letter from a Wittenberg student and a kit to make their own bracelet as a visual reminder to work hard and ask for help as mentioned in the letter. Later in the semester, FYS students will be reconnected with their third-graders.

The Hagen Center sponsors several annual events that connect the Wittenberg community and the Greater Springfield community. Events range from direct service projects to community engagement experiences exemplifying the significance of service as part a Wittenberg education and the work of the Hagen Center, which Ohio’s former Lieutenant Governor called a model for how universities and communities should work together.

Also, during the FYS meeting, organizers will show a nine-minute video with messages from such Wittenberg alumni as Bryan Heck ‘06, Springfield City Manager; Shannon Meadows ’99, development director for the City of Springfield; Hasecke; and Lawrence, who serves as the director of Promise Neighborhood; along with Warren Copeland, professor emeritus of religion and Springfield’s mayor; Emmanuel Thombs ’22, Student Senate officer, and Amy McGuffey, assistant professor of education.

Also of note, Mayor Copeland recently declared Aug. 17, the first day of Wittenberg classes, as the Class of 2024 Day in Springfield.

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About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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