Indiana State University Newsroom

New students join local leaders for Donaghy Day of service

August 24, 2010

New students at Indiana State University joined notable members of the Terre Haute community Tuesday to kick off their involvement in Donaghy Day, a day set aside to introduce new students to ISU's commitment to public service.

The focus of the volunteer efforts of the students and community leaders was working with the city to beautify downtown Terre Haute. Among those joining the students were Mayor Duke Bennett, City Councilman Todd Nation, and members of the Keep Terre Haute Beautiful committee.

"We think [Donaghy Day] is a great opportunity to partner with ISU to clean up our downtown area," Bennett said. "The students will help us do some things that we just wouldn't be able to do otherwise so we're excited about today."

The mayor, councilman and committee members were split into groups with students and given shovels and rakes to work on sprucing up the city's downtown and Central East Side along Wabash Avenue between Third and 14th streets.

Service activities included picking up litter and weeding and putting new mulch on flower beds.

"We are looking for a nice cleanup to take us into the fall and we thank ISU for their assistance on this," Bennett said.

Ty Rosembalm began his service in downtown by weeding a flower bed on Seventh Street.

"I wanted to participate in Donaghy Day because I know it is important to help the community I will be living in for the next four years," said Rosembalm, a freshman from Danville.

Another benefit, especially for freshmen, of getting involved on campus and in the community is meeting new people and making new friends, said freshmen Ashley Pagels from Michigan City and Ashley Pruitt from Brownstown.

Donaghy Day is planned by the Center for Public Service and Community Engagement and for the past two years Heather Miklozek, the center's associate director, has been in charge of the event.

The center is proud that it was able to expand the outreach of Donaghy Day this year to a higher number of community agencies, Miklozek said.

The expanded outreach was facilitated by a growth in student involvement.

"Our attempt each year is to increase [the number of students]...and over the past three years we have increased by 50 to 100 students," Miklozek said.

There were 400 students who participated this year. Center staff was able to keep track of this by swiping student ID information into a computer as they arrived at Hulman Center to start their day of service.

Volunteers worked at more than 50 location on campus, in the community and in West Terre Haute.

Natalie Smailis attended Donaghy Day as an academic peer advisor in charge of a group of freshman from Blumberg Hall.

Smailis and her group took a bus to the West Vigo Community Center where they pulled weeds and planted flowers.

"Being involved on campus and in the community is important because it is an opportunity to be able to enjoy new experiences and to do things that some people aren't able to do," said Smailis, a junior from Highland.

Donaghy Day was started in 1976 by Richard Landini, ISU's eighth president, and has grown into an upstanding tradition, said John Newton, retired vice president for alumni affairs and constituent relations with the ISU Foundation and guest speaker at the Donaghy Day kickoff.

"This will carry on from generation to generation and you are part of something very special," Newton told students as he welcomed them in Hulman Center.

Photos: - Incoming students at Indiana State University help spruce up downtown Terre Haute during the Donaghy Day service day on Aug. 24, 2010 (ISU/Kara Berchem) - Chris Pfaff, director of the Center for Business Support and Economic Innovation, addresses new ISU students as they prepare to pick up shovels and fan out across downtown Terre Haute for the university's annual Donaghy Day of public service for incoming freshmen. (ISU/Kara Berchem)

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