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An army of blue-shirted Barton Bulldogs fanned out Wednesday to spend a day in service to the Wilson community.
More than 800 students, faculty and staff members participated in the 11th annual Barton College Day of Service.
“We love this day because it represents who we are at Barton College and our relationship to the city of Wilson and our mutual love for one another and our ability to give to one another,” said Barton College President Douglas Searcy.“We enjoy hosting people on our campus, and we enjoy giving back to the community. It is a great day for the college and the community.”
David Finnegan-Hosey, Barton’s chaplain and director of campus ministries, said Barton College is part of the Wilson community.
“This is a day for us to really remind ourselves that this is our home and to remind our students that the people we are working with are our neighbors and to introduce our students to having a heart for service, to having a love for service so that we can send them out as leaders in service in the world,” Finnegan-Hosey said. “I am proud of their accomplishments. I am proud of Barton College’s commitment to this day. I am particularly proud this year that we are sending some groups further away than we usually do to do some hurricane relief work in Trenton and New Bern including some work with one of our alumni who was impacted by the storm.”
Darrian Sisson, a freshman, joined other members of the American Sign Language Club in painting a preschool classroom at the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf.
“The community gives to us, so this is a day to give back,” Sisson said. “We go specifically to the deaf school because we, as a group, have a longstanding relationship with them.”
Melissa Goings, a professor who teaches exercise science classes in Barton’s Department of Allied Health and Sports Studies, took a group to the Greenfield School to clean up entrance and exit ways, trim rose bushes, put down pine straw and generally clean up the terrain around the school.
“I think it gives them a bigger picture of what Wilson is all about, especially what Barton is all about,” Goings said. “I like taking the freshmen out just because it opens their eyes to the city and how special the city is and how important service is in the city.”
Ermanno Galimberti, who is double-majoring in business and sports management, went with the tennis team to clean up rubbish along roads next to the college.
“It’s nice to have everyone together doing it as well, getting all of the community together and just in general giving back,” Galimberti said. “It’s a sense of achievement knowing that you have gone somewhere and you have made a difference. Some of the jobs that need doing need like 20 or 30 people doing it and it takes a short amount of time whereas by themselves it would take them weeks and weeks. So it is nice to get in there and do the job. You can see the improvement, which is nice.”
“It is always good to give back to people,” said Danielle Holdeman, a freshman, who spent the day at Toisnot Middle School performing a beautification project.
More than 40 locations around Wilson received help from the students and faculty members.
“Everyone is away from their offices and their classrooms today,” said Barton College spokeswoman Kathy Daughety. “It’s a college-wide effort.”