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New Cornell College Students Put in 1,000 Hours of Service in One Day

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The Cornell College campus in Mount Vernon is ready for students to get back to work after the summer break, but before that can happen there's one more assignment.

It's not exactly homework.

"There's a lot of problem solving that goes on, a lot of critical thinking," said Cornell College Senior & Peer Advocate John Link.

It's volunteer work.

"We washed sheets and blankets and then we made macaroni and cheese," said Incoming Freshman Diamond Boyd.

Cornell organizes the volunteer project each year. About 300 students took part this year, volunteering at twenty locations across Eastern Iowa. The event falls at the end of the "New Student Orientation Week." The school said it's a way to introduce its new class to the region.

"Today is really about seeing the community outside of Cornell and realizing basically the outside world because I think when we're in high school, we get caught up in our own little world, and it's good to see there are other lives outside your own," Link said.

Boyd admits, at first, she wasn't thrilled about volunteering, but by the end of the day she enjoyed the experience. Working at the Willis Dady Emergency Shelter opened her eyes to the homeless scene.

"You never really think about it until you are put in a situation, like we were today (Saturday)," Boyd said. "I never thought about how it would be for someone who didn't have all of the stuff that I have."

For the shelter, volunteers help get things done as the list of needs continues to grow.

"That means a lot, not only to Willis Dady, but to the clients as well," said Willis Dady Development and Volunteer Coordinator Paul Hoin.

Students said they just hope their hard work will brighten someone else's day.

Overall, the students put in an estimated 1,000 volunteer hours to spruce up the community. The list of places that they helped fix up includes: HACAP, Lisbon Parks & Rec., Mount Vernon Parks, Camp Courageous, Abbe Hills and the Catherine McAuley Center.

Students said they start classes at Cornell College on Monday.

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