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PreServe: Getting Acclimated and Making a Difference

Get down and dirty with PreServe.

If the thought of leaving home and coming to Keene State for the first time is a little scary, you’re not alone. Stepping into all those unknown social and academic challenges isn’t easy, so KSC’s Community Service Office created the PreServe program to help you get involved in the campus and local community. Twenty two incoming students are on campus this week (July 12–17), participating in the second PreServe summer program, which helps new and transfer students become familiar with campus while participating in community service and leadership building activities and getting to know other students, staff, and the Keene community. 

“We have seen the positive impacts of the program,” reported PreServe Coordinator Lindsey Fuller. “Last year, five students participated and all are doing well on campus. They are involved with multiple clubs and organizations … and we are happy to report that all participants stayed at Keene State their first year and are returning as sophomores in the fall.”

Lending a helping hand at the Monadnock Humane Society
Lending a helping hand at the Monadnock Humane Society

One of those returning sophomores, Alayna LaBaire, found her PreServe experience so rewarding last summer that she was invited back as a student leader this summer. When she began the program, everyone was handed a journal. “We were asked to write three short-term goals we had (things we could do in that week) and three long-term goals we had (things to accomplish before we graduated),” she explained. “We also talked about what worried us and what may we do to over come these things. Every night we would reflect on what we did that day and what we were going to do the next day. … We all supported each other to push ourselves to do things we never would’ve thought we would do.” She reported that the group participated in four different community service projects, including working on an organic farm, sanding and painting a structure for cats at the Humane Society, working with children with disabilities, and preparing meals for people in need. They also spent a day doing a ropes course as a team-building exercise.

And there’s plenty of room for fun during the week: “We had a movie night, we went swimming at the pool in the gym, we went to a Swamp Bats game, we tye-dyed, and we went to a farmers’ market where we bought food we used to make dinner that night,” Alayna said.

“This was one of the best weeks of my summer,” she remembered. “I learned so much, and it made me so much more confident with leaving home and starting over somewhere new. PreServe helped me get more involved in school and several student organizations. … I also met my best friend. In one week, I created a friendship that I hope to keep for the rest of college and for years after that. It was helpful coming to school and having a bond with someone like that. PreServe helped me become who I am here at Keene State and I am beyond excited to be leading it this summer.”

What’s a typical PreServe day like? Here’s this year’s participants on their first day, tending a community garden:

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