The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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Conjoining Charleston and Eastern through volunteering

Rob Le Cates
Team Leader Kennedi Hall, a first-year graduate student majoring in human services program administration, applies the first coat of paint to a lamppost at The Square Saturday morning. Volunteering is important to hall on many fronts. First she is a Christian and believes giving her time to people who need help is essential to her life. Second, she is the Vice President of the National Association of Colored Women’s Club, so volunteering is a part of their morals.

With the 2023-2024 semester approaching, the Eastern and Charleston community worked together for the Jumpstart Community Service Projects.

Buses departed from Eastern at 9 a.m. and concluded around 1:30 p.m., but some groups ended around noon.

Those involved had options to go to different locations and engage in different activities.

Some people volunteered at the food pantry, while others volunteered at Sarah Bush Hospital to help with gardening duties.

Other students stayed on Eastern’s campus and made blankets.

In downtown Charleston, students went around the neighborhood and painted the light poles.

Emily Ross, a senior music education major was a volunteer.

During the summer, Ross said she worked as an orientation leader for the New Student Family Programs office.

Ross and coworkers spent time planning events for the welcome weekend and came out to join and help while she had the day off.

Team Leaders Emily Ross (left), a senior music education major, and Kennedi Hall (right), a human services program administration graduate student, paint a lamppost at at The Square Saturday morning, August 19, 2023, in Charleston, Ill. for part of the Jumpstart Community Service Projects in align with Welcome Weekend. Incoming freshmen and transfer students were required to perform several hours of community service during this event. Both Ross and Hall believe community service benefits not only those impacted by, but also those who do it. (Rob Le Cates)

Volunteering is ‘very important’ to Ross.

Ross thinks that the community coming together will be beneficial to everyone involved.

“It’s going to ensure the success of all of our students, our community and ensure the success of keeping the university alive, keeping numbers good here, just keeping a positive community that attracts students,” Ross said.

Ross is also a member of the Kappa Delta Sorority Inc., where they spend time volunteering.

“We do a lot of volunteer stuff too, we are used to doing at least 10 hours a semester [of volunteering],” Ross said.

Ross said she was happy that people came out and that everyone seemed to be having fun.

“I think painting is really calming too, so thank you to the Charleston community for creating this opportunity for students to come out and do this,” Ross said.

Kennedi Hall, a first-year graduate student majoring in human services program administration was also present at the volunteering event.

Hall is also a graduate assistant with the Academic Success Center. She and other members brought the freshman out just to get them involved.

“Academic success students that need help come to our office anyway, so [this] was just a great way to connect with them and let them know our name and stuff like that,” Hall said.

Volunteering is also an important activity to Hall for multiple reasons.

“First and foremost, I’m a Christian,” Hall said. “I feel like giving my time to help other people or to help a cause is very essential just to live that Christian life.”

Hall is also the Vice President of the National Association of Colored Women’s Club, and she said volunteering is a part of their morals.

Hall said it is great to have volunteer opportunities in Charleston because it allows students to become more familiar and comfortable with their new home.

The welcome weekend volunteer events are annual and allow students to come into the community and get involved.

CJ Applegate, Superintendent of Parks and Facilities for the City of Charleston, Ill., paints lampposts alongside fellow student volunteers from Eastern Illinois University at The Square Saturday morning. Applegate has worked with the city for around 20 years with this year being his eighth as superintendent. He was appreciative the weather hadn’t gotten hot like it would in the next week or so. (Rob Le Cates)

Around 20 were downtown to help paint the light poles.

Other events taking place during the welcome weekend include EIU The Greatest School on Earth! Fall Fair, which will take place from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The First Night Spirit Rally will take place Sunday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. at O’Brien field.


Cam’ron Hardy can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].


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About the Contributors
Cam'ron Hardy, News Editor
Cam'ron is a junior journalism major. He previously served news editor and campus editor at The News. 
Rob Le Cates, Editor-in-Chief
Rob Le Cates is a junior journalism major. He previously served as summer editor-in-chief, photo editor and assistant photo editor at The News.

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