Pre-Orientation Service Program brings first-year students together with community in mind
By Madeline Marriott ’24
In August, 30 first-year students spent their first days as Leopards engaging with the Easton community.
The Pre-Orientation Service Program (POSP), one of the offerings of the Landis Center for Community Engagement, gives students an opportunity to get to know the campus and greater community while making a difference.
This year’s program, which occurred the week before first-year orientation, connected students to four different initiatives across Easton: summer camps at Paxinosa Elementary and Firth Youth Center, respectively, outdoor projects with the Urban Garden Initiative (UGI), and connecting with residents at Gracedale Nursing Home.
Emma Chen ’24, who serves as co-executive director alongside Jake Sevcik ’24, spoke to the program’s impact on students.
“On the first day of POSP, the students were so nervous,” she says. “By the end of the week, they were just beaming with confidence. They were glowing.”
“They felt like they had a community right at the get-go—a community that’s grounded in engagement, empathy, and kindness,” Chen continues.
The program operates by three core tenets: education, direct service, and reflection. In addition to service at one of the locations, each day consists of educational activities to learn more about the community and obstacles it faces, and a period of reflection on the day’s work.
For Greta Magnuson ’27, a first-year participant who volunteered at Firth Youth Center, this reflection was the most meaningful part of the experience. “We learned about what it means to be an active citizen and to do real community engagement or community service, which I thought was a big part because it takes doing service to a whole new level,” she says. “It was nice to establish what kind of citizenship we want to partake in for the next four years.”
Magnuson could see the importance of their work reflected in the response from the community members, including at a community dinner with partners from across Easton.
“We all learned so much from the Easton community members, and we felt like we could contribute and give back to the community that has given us so much,” Chen says. “I just think it was a really, really successful year. The first-years were exceptional in their commitment and their kindness to each other, and their passion and willingness to engage thoughtfully, meaningfully, and with gusto.”