WINONA, Minn. (FOX 47)--More than 100-new students from St. Mary's University spent their first weekend at college volunteering in Winona. According to the University, "New Student Service Day" began as a way to get students acclimated to their new environment while giving back to the community.
"It doesn't matter how small the act. Just by painting this, we may not see the benefits of it right now, but the people who come here everyday are going to get to see this and we get to leave our lasting mark," said Freshman Ashley Anderson.
Students were split into several groups and assigned projects at 6-locations in Winona. Painting the interior of Winona's Friendship Center for older adults was one project. According to the Director of the center, the main room of the meeting place hadn't been painted in more than 20-years.
"For them to come and spend their Labor Day weekend, here, with us painting our room for us-it just really says that our older adults are valued," said Malia Fox, Director of the Winona Friendship Center.
Other freshman were helping out around town. A group of new students helped clean stalls and weed the lawn at the Humane Society.
"I honestly think that this is a lot more fun...being able to make friendships based on volunteer work and community rather than parties," said Freshman Tara Devine.
Wherever students were lending a hand, community members were thankful for their service.
"The students are the cream of the crop, really amazing-really wonderful volunteers," said Dedee Olson, a Humane Society volunteer.
St. Mary's University students take part in other volunteer days throughout the year. In the fall, many participate in "Make-A-Difference Day." "Spruce Up Winona" is another service day in the Spring.
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