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Clocking In for Campus
Clocking In for Campus

For Berry College alumni, volunteering is all in a day’s work

By Precious Dorch-Robinson


Alan Storey/Berry College



Most universities lure alumni back with fun and games, but Berry College lures alumni with shovels and sewing machines.

Each May, more than 200 alumni volunteers arrive at the Georgia campus for Alumni Work Week to reconnect with classmates and help maintain the 27,000-acre campus. Alumni do everything from weaving chair seats to restoring doors and cleaning the barns, gazebos, nature trails, and vegetable cooling rooms.

"They do some amazing stuff, and a lot of them are of a considerable age. They're so motivated, inspired, and passionate," says Jennifer Schaknowski, director of alumni development.

After the workday wraps up, volunteers retire to their dorms, play bingo, enjoy themed dinners, or bid in silent auctions on items donated by alumni, Berry memorabilia, and artwork.

Work has always been an integral part of Berry's history. In 1914 students worked for eight hours on two days of the week, which helped lower maintenance costs and offset tuition and student expenses. The institution began as a boys' industrial school in 1902 and the school became a college in 1926.

Given the strong tradition of working, it's no surprise how Work Week began. In 1985, while visiting campus, an alumnus noticed the grounds needed tidying. He grabbed some friends, and together they went to work.

About the Author Precious Dorch-Robinson

Precious Dorch-Robinson is a spring 2016 Currents editorial intern.

 

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