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SMC visits Wabash for service

Megan Loney | Monday, September 28, 2009

Saint Mary’s students visited Wabash College for a day of community service, football and Ben Folds on Saturday.

The first activity for the 37 Saint Mary’s participants and Wabash students was community service.

The students cleaned a local museum, helped landscape at the Family Crisis Shelter, offered assistance at the department and helped care for animals at the Humane Society.

Student Government Association President Jenny Hoffman said community service was a good way to start the day.

“Overall, the organizations appreciated our help, and it enabled the students to get to know each other better,” Hoffman said.

Junior Chelsea Mitchell’s favorite part of the trip was the community service.

“I volunteered at the Humane Society and washed the most precious dogs,” Mitchell said.

After lunch, Saint Mary’s students attended the Wabash Homecoming Football game, which Wabash won.

The only glitch for the day was the unexpected cost of football tickets. One of Wabash’s fraternities, Beta Theta Pi covered the cost of the tickets for the Saint Mary’s group, Hoffman said.

Students had free time to spend with each other before attending the Ben Folds concert.

“At first it was awkward, kind of like those dances that you see in movies where the girls were on one side then the boys on the other.” Mitchell said, “But within a couple minutes we all started talking. They were such gentlemen.”

Hoffman and her brother, Wabash senior Will Hoffman, jointly came up with the idea for a mutual meeting of the single-sex colleges.

“Will and I have always had a great time when we’ve visited each other at our respective schools, so this event seemed like a no-brainer,” Hoffman said. “Both schools appreciate the unique value of a single sex education, so Saturday’s event was the next logical step in creating dialogue between Wabash and Saint Mary’s.”

The Hoffman siblings spent three weeks planning the event.

“It took us a week to get approval from our respective schools, and we had to finalize our budget,” Hoffman said. “Overall, Saturday’s event was an easy event to plan, and I think the Saint Mary’s women enjoyed themselves.”

Slavin enjoyed herself, even though she did not attend the concert as she had planned.

“Honestly, I signed up because I wanted to see Ben Folds,” sophomore Margaret Slavin said. “But that never happened. I had such a blast anyway.”

Watching Saint Mary’s women meet new people and be treated with respect by the Wabash men was gratifying for Hoffman.

“I was happy to see them enjoying Wabash as much as I have d uring my college tenure,” Hoffman said. “Our campus environments are extremely similar, and our schools have much to gain and learn from each other.”

The event was such a success for both colleges that it may become a new tradition.

“I am confident that this event was the start of a beneficial and mutually respected friendship between the two schools,” Hoffman said. “My hope is to make this an annual event; perhaps Wabash could reciprocate and visit our campus in the spring.”