Fresh START Day of Service encourages new students to 'get rooted' in service

Fresh START committee members load up a vehicle with Fleece & Thank You blankets for the Penn State Children's Hospital Credit: Susan LechtanskiAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. —On Sept. 27, a special delivery of cozy fleece blankets was made to the Penn State Children's Hospital in Hershey. These were not any fleece blankets. Each blanket had its own video message attached to it with happy thoughts, inspirational messages, funny jokes and cheerful hellos. Sewn on each blanket is a tag containing a personalized code to a website where recipients can view their personalized messages. The children and their parents can also respond to their well-wishers with a personalized thank you message.

This project was a partnership between Penn State’s Fresh START Day of Service and a Michigan-based company called Fleece & Thank You. This was just one of a dozen different service opportunities held on Sunday, Sept. 8, as part of Penn State’s largest day of service, Fresh START. Fresh START is designed for incoming first-year, change-of-campus, transfer students and World Campus students who are new to the University Park campus. 

Fresh START Day of Service encourages new students to “get rooted” in service opportunities in Happy Valley and within student organizations that they can engage with throughout their academic careers at Penn State.

Fresh START is just one of many service-learning opportunities offered by the Office of Student Activities, a unit of Penn State Student Affairs. Other one-day service opportunities include Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and Summer Day Service.

This year, the Office of Student Activities has expanded these service-learning opportunities to include several weekend-long trips. The office also organizes the alternative break trips held during semester breaks. To learn more about various one-day, weekend or weeklong service learning opportunities, visit

The Office of Student Activities is also looking for faculty and staff members to service as learning partners. These partnerships are essential to providing strong and safe learning opportunities for students. Learning Partners attend the trip at no cost and participate in daily service, education and reflection activities. If you are interested in being a service-learning partner, email Heather Veale at for details on these exciting opportunities.

Last Updated October 18, 2019