University students schooled in service

by Mary Katherine Murphy

January 20, 2014

LAURINBURG — Freed for a day from their regular classes in chemistry, English, and equine business, St. Andrews University students dedicated Monday to a different kind of education.

Some 400 students participated in the university’s Martin Luther King Day of Service effort, volunteering around the county at sites like Camp Monroe, Church and Community Services, and Scottish Pines Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

“It’s a good bonding experience for our team to come and get new experiences,” said Amber Madden, a St. Andrews senior from New Jersey. “We’re not all from around this area, so it’s nice to get to know people who are.”

Madden and several other members of the St. Andrews softball team spent the morning socializing with Scottish Pines residents, which proved as enlightening to the college students as it was entertaining for the elderly.

“They’re very funny and talkative,” Madden said. “They’re very down-to-earth, everything’s truthful. There’s no filter.”

“We did this last year and it’s nice to come back out and see the same faces and you also see the excitement on their faces,” added Jessie Wiegers, a junior from Augusta, Ga. “We sat and talked to a lady for a good 30 minutes and she was just saying how much she enjoyed seeing us — it’s nice to put a smile on their faces knowing that they may not get company every day.”

Several student crews were assigned to clearing trash and debris from roadsides throughout the county. The St. Andrews equestrian team took the opportunity to clean up the stretch of Hasty Road near its riding center.

“We usually make a game out of it; we see the weirdest or grossest stuff we can find,” said Tara Algieri, a senior from New Jersey. “They’re seeing if they can live off of stuff they find. We’ve found nail clippers, a tire, a bunch of crazy stuff today.”

While disposing of errant garbage may not seem like a glorious exercise in community improvement, someone, Algieri said, has to do it.

“It’s really just giving back. It’s a much smaller scale than what Martin Luther King wanted, but it’s the little things.”

Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-276-2311, ext. 17.