A week before most students had settled in at Ithaca College, a group of incoming first-year and transfer students came to campus early to forge bonds with one another and venture out into the greater Ithaca community. As part of IC’s Jumpstart program, 205 students participated in one of four distinct experiences where they volunteered for local organizations, learned about sustainability, gained outdoor adventure skills, or built upon their leadership abilities.
The students who joined the Community Plunge group, for example, spent two days volunteering at Ithaca schools, community centers and nonprofits.
For Preston Desch ’22, an integrated marketing communications major, the Community Plunge was a great way to continue his commitment to service. During high school spring breaks, he traveled to Nicaragua to teach English and to a Native American reservation in North Dakota to help build facilities.
“I need a physical aspect to my life,” he said, sanding the “troll house” at the Ithaca Children’s Garden as the group sung along to Disney music blasted over a wireless speaker. “It’s been great to work beside so many nice people and to have fun doing it.”
He said he also liked learning about the city. “I’m from Chicago and don’t have a car here, so I got to see parts of Ithaca that I never would have on my own,” he said.