Indiana State University Newsroom

Donaghy Day introduces new students to community service

August 25, 2009

The clink of shovels and friendly banter filled the air just outside Indiana State University's Tirey Hall, where incoming students planted an elm tree for Donaghy Day.

"Long after you're gone and I'm gone this tree will remain as a memory of this day," said guest speaker John Newton, retired vice president for alumni affairs and constituent relations.

With twice as many incoming students participating as last year, Donaghy Day gave students the opportunity to get to know the Indiana State campus as well as the Terre Haute community.

Nancy Rogers, director of the Center for Public Service and Community Engagement, said, "At ISU, community service is so important that it's a part of our mission statement."

As Newton explained, Richard Landini, the seventh president of ISU, started Donaghy Day in 1976 in an effort to clean up campus, and it has since evolved to include the surrounding community of Terre Haute. In the past, students planted a tree (or many trees) on Donaghy Day but did not do so last year.

Michael Edwards, one of the first students to jump in and dig, was surprised to find several rocks under the ground.

"It's crazy, there's like nothing but solid rock underneath," said Edwards, a freshman academic open preference major from Martinsville.

"Now who's the person that said, ‘It's not rocket science'?" asked Jamie Foster, a freshman athletic training and physical education major from Indianapolis.

After digging for about 10 minutes and hitting rock after rock with their shovels, students began digging in a different location, and within minutes had the hole dug and the tree planted.

Two students remained at the first hole to fill it back in.

"I'm not mad or anything, but I'm a little disappointed we couldn't fix this one," said Samual Clark, a freshman English and theater major from Indianapolis.

Foster took at least four turns digging the hole to plant the tree that to him is more than just a tree.

"This tree, I see it as I'm starting a new life in college, and the tree is starting a new life on campus," he said.

Other students picked up trash, weeded flowerbeds, washed windows and helped unload items at the ISU Recycling Center.

Shakaiyra Reed, a freshman nursing major from Chicago, spent some time separating clear glass bottles from green and brown ones. She plans to continue volunteering.

"I like helping the community," she said.

Hannah Morrett, a freshman nursing major from Veedersburg, tried to shove more cardboard into a recycling bin.

"It's a really good experience. It helps us get involved in the community, lets us know there are ways to help out campus," Morrett said.

Cherrelle Duncan, a junior elementary and special education major from Indianapolis, had never before participated in Donaghy Day, but as a Fall Welcome Ambassador, she was in charge of a group of incoming students participating in the day.

"I think it's a good thing to get the community involved," Duncan said. "We're taking pride and trying to save our ecosystem."

Photos: Indiana State University freshmen plant an elm tree as part of Donaghy Day, a day to introduce new students to the university's commitment to public service and community engagement. (ISU/Kara Berchem) - ISU freshman Kristine Hansen tackles a pile of newspapers at the university's Recycling Center during Donaghy Day. (ISU/Tony Campbell)

Writer: Lana Schrock, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773 or