After three-and-a-half days of training for Cornell’s Pre-Orientation Service Trip (POST) program, POST team leaders greeted a record number of first-year and transfer students arriving on campus Aug. 14 to participate in the program.
POST, a program of the Public Service Center, provides incoming students the opportunity to get a head start on their Cornell careers through volunteering in the local community. Renee Farkas, associate director of the Public Service Center and director of the POST program, added two team leaders to accommodate this year’s increased enrollment.
After some tearful goodbyes with parents, a total of 76 participants and team leaders quickly broke into their teams to start to get to know each other before heading to Ithaca’s Boynton Middle School, its home base for five days of volunteering with community service agencies. For the last 21 years, Boynton has hosted the group by providing sleeping mats in the school’s cafeteria and access to their showers.
The POST teams’ work projects include: maintenance at the Ithaca Children’s Garden; cleaning donated items at Finger Lakes Reuse; visiting with residents at Cayuga Ridge, a senior citizen community; transplanting and garden maintenance at the Ithaca Youth Farm; and cleaning and helping to prepare the Varna Community Center facility for a new afterschool program for Pre-K aged children and their older siblings.
POST participants will volunteer an estimated 1,500 hours over five days. Along with volunteering, students build new friendships, explore the campus and community, and participate in evening activities led by the team leaders, designed to help them adjust to college life.
“So many of the friends I’ve made at POST have become my friends for all of my time at Cornell,” said Shay Collins ’18, a returning team leader. “This year, I’m living with five other students who I met through POST. Its effect on my time at Cornell is indescribable.”
Said Farkas, “POST runs on the dedication and enthusiasm of the team leaders who are truly some of the best mentors, role models and welcome ambassadors I know.”
Since its inception in 1996, POST has had more than 1,100 participants volunteer more than 26,000 hours in the community.