This year marks the 20th anniversary of Cornell’s Pre-Orientation Service Trips (POST), a Public Service Center program that gives incoming students an opportunity to get a head start on their Cornell careers through volunteering in the Ithaca community.
Beginning Aug. 16, 53 incoming freshmen and transfer students, led by past POST participants, are spending five days working with such organizations as Cayuga Ridge senior citizen community, Ithaca Children’s Garden, Finger Lake Reuse, Cayuga Nature Center, and One-to-One Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ithaca and Tompkins County.
By the end of the week, the students will have volunteered an estimated 1,500 hours of service. Along with volunteering, students also are building new friendships, exploring the campus and community, and participating in evening activities designed to help them adjust to college life.
“POST is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding programs I have led at Cornell,” says Renee Farkas, associate director of the Public Service Center and coordinator of the POST program since its inception. “I look forward to celebrating our 20th anniversary while introducing a whole new group of Cornelians to POST, Ithaca and Cornell. Its success has surely been a result of the dedication and enthusiasm of the team leaders who are truly some of the best mentors, role models and welcome ambassadors I know.”
POST began in 1996 as a pilot program. Since then it has welcomed more than 1,000 participants who have volunteered over 25,000 hours in the community.
“Even 10 years after the fact, I still have the fondest memories of POST: sleeping on the floor of Boynton Middle School, idolizing my team leaders, meeting one of my best friends (even today!), painting fire hydrants and so much more,” wrote Lauren Merkley ’05. “That week of immersion gave me a fierce commitment to the Ithaca community, leading to four years of volunteering at the Public Service Center and working for a student-run nonprofit working to leverage college volunteerism for the benefit of local organizations. It would not be overstating to say that POST set the stage for a lifelong commitment to community, service and Cornell.”