By in news on Sep 12, 2017 |

On Saturday, September 9, thousands of first-year Westerns students took part in the first ever O-Serves – a new orientation event that encourages freshman students to volunteer in the community as part of O-Week.

Students helped out at 27 organizations across the city, doing everything from cleaning to tree planting.

Lockdown, a health sciences student and head soph of Delaware Hall, said she was inspired by the student turnout at her residence.

“We were supposed to get 25 per cent, and we got 60 per cent, so we had to get extra buses,” she said.

O-Serves is replacing Shinerama, an O-Week event that sent students door-to-door to collect donations for cystic fibrosis research.

Ziplock, a third-year economics student at Western and soph, said he prefers O-Serves to Shinerama.

“A lot of students didn’t particularly feel comfortable asking for money or going door-to-door for money,” he said. “This provides a good way for them to still have that community involvement and community spirit in a bit more of a tangible, direct way.”

And the student involvement was appreciated by the non-profit businesses and organizations.

“We really appreciate their time with us. It’s amazing, these kids – they don’t have to here. They want to be a part of the community – and some of them will be back,” said Patricia Runciman, a community advocate at Life Spin, a non-profit on Dundas Street for low-income Londoners.

With the first O-Serves a success, look out for the event on O-Week schedules for years to come.