HOLLAND, Mich.--Nearly 250 Hope college students spent their Saturday serving the Holland and Zeeland area for the college's annual day of service.
It's called "time to serve" and it allows new Hope college students to put down the books for a day and get their hands dirty for their new city that they're now calling home, inspiring students to interact with community members and as well as inspiring a spirit of community service.
"We just know to make the world a better place is to have students get involved with volunteerism early," says Katie Dekoster, student life coordinator.
And what better time to start than in freshman year of college! The volunteer program sparks interest in service and new surroundings.
"I've never been this far away from Hope's campus I grew up coming to Holland to visit my grandparents and my bubble visiting them there was very small. I've gotten see a lot of parts of Holland that I've never seen before," says Hailey Stegnega, "Time to Serve" volunteer.
And with more than 20 sites on the service list students get a chance to lend a hand to nearby Holland and Zeeland business who need it.
"Hope College has been coming here probably for 10 years or more for this time to serve day. We've used them here at the nature center, we've used them at another park," says Mike Graves, DeGraff nature center.
While it's all about giving back, picking weeds with strangers could also lead to new beginnings and lifelong relationships.
"I actually came out with my roommate so I knew somebody coming out so I guess that's an advantage but it's good to meet new people the first week here. Getting comfortable," says David Mchugh, "Time to Serve" volunteer.
The annual service program opening many doors to hundreds of hope college students every year.
"So every year we have students who love the place were they've been placed and they end up serving throughout the rest of college," says Dekoster.
The student life coordinator says she hopes to have the Hope college students out here in the field doing community service on Martin Luther King Jr's birthday. You can find out more information about that on their website.