Indiana State University Newsroom

Donaghy Day helps freshmen find their roots in Terre Haute

August 21, 2015

Donaghy Day, a part of Indiana State University's Fall Welcome, marks the beginning of the school year with a day of service for incoming students to "celebrate the season and to work to help beautify the campus and surrounding community."

Neaerly 1,800 students began fall 2015 Donaghy Day at 8 a.m. at Hulman Center, where students left on buses, vans, or on feet to more than 70 project locations in the area.

Along with a sense of accomplishment, the teamwork experience also allowed freshman to meet other sycamores, learn their way around the city, and form a connection with the community they recently moved to, many from far away.

"I wanted to be involved in the community because I'm from Illinois, so I thought this would be a good way for me to get to see things and help out," said Kamrie Olson of Bloomington, Ill., who alphabetized books at the Vigo County Public Library with her roommate Marisa Combs of Milan, Ind, who majors in special education and English education and loves volunteering. "It's a good introduction."

Combs chose to volunteer at the library for her love of books, and Olson thought that organizing the books would children who visit the library.

Allison Jones, an exercise science major from Danville, Ind. was among the white T-shirts toiling in the garden outside the library's entrance. "It's giving back to the community--it makes you feel good about yourself and helping others."

Jones was accompanied by Olivia Monhollen, a graphic design major from New Palestine." I thought it would be fun, and I like books--I didn't know I'd be outside gardening, but I just like helping the community."

"It feels nice outside today and it's for the town," said Jordan Sullivan, exploratory studies major from Attica, who spruced up the planters in downtown Terre Haute for the upcoming Block Party. "It feels nice to do a good deed. I'm having fun."

Travis Eckert, an unmanned systems major from Fort Wayne, followed his friend to the Community Garden at 11th and Chestnut streets. "It sounded like a fun day at the garden, so why not? And it helps the community."

The day of service wrapped up around noon. Students who participated in Donaghy Day were able to see the impact of their service as they beautified the university and Terre Haute, but they also learned how to navigate and appreciate the town and meet other freshmen, which Mulhollen looks forward to. Sullivan, who resides on campus, felt that Donaghy Day is an important part of Fall Welcome because it helps students integrate into the community.

"It's a good way to start school-get people a little more used to their community, introduce us to a lot of the locations around Terre Haute."

Photo: - Indiana State University freshmen work in the university's Community Garden during the annual Donaghy Day community service event Aug. 17, 1015. (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Photo: - Freshmen students from Indiana State University help out at the Terre Haute Humane Society during the university's annual Donaghy Day community service event Aug. 17, 2015. (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Contact: Jessica Starr, Center for Community Engagement, Indiana State University,

Writer: Kristen Kilker, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, 812-237-3773 or