School of Mines students welcomed back with community service

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Each year, incoming freshmen at the School of Mines and Technology line up to roll up their sleeves and give back to the community.

"I think it's a great idea." said freshman Alyssa. "If we are going to spend the next four years here, it's good to get out into the community."

The annual Freshmen Day of Service puts the newbies to work at local charities like Feeding South Dakota. A group of 30 freshmen spent several hours tearing plastic off boxes, moving crates of food, and cleaning totes.

"What they are doing is production work to prepare for the backpacks for this upcoming season which we do 1,800 backpacks to needy children for 35 weeks to 35 schools," said Backpack Program coordinator Larry Larsen. "They're unpacking approximately 10,000 pounds of food."

While helping local charities is a great cause, there is another reason for them to help out.

"It helps the students break out a little bit more," said student organizer and senior Benjamin Hinricher. The goal is to get the freshmen to connect with the community and each other.

Alyssa, removing the plastic from hundreds of cans of tomato soup, teamed up with Alex - another freshmen - to make the job more efficient and fun. They didn't know each other before this weekend.

"Now we're like almost best friends," Alyssa said.

Alyssa is from Texas and hoping to studying chemical engineering, while Alex - from Nebraska - wants to become a biomedical engineer.