First-year students dig into Danville during new student orientation event

Traditionally, first-year Centre College students engage in the Danville community by participating in the Service Plunge and Delve into Danville during New Student Orientation. This year, in lieu of annual Service Plunge, the Office of Civic & Community Engagement will be offering Service Saturdays throughout the semester. In addition, the office revamped its Delve into Danville event, teaming up with the Danville–Boyle Chamber of Commerce to create an entirely new program.

“This new event encouraged all first-year Centre students to visit local businesses, non-profits and sites of interest with their orientation groups on the morning of Saturday, August 28, from 9 a.m. to noon,” said Jessica Weasner, director of Civic & Community Engagement and the Bonner Program.

“We talked with upper-class students about their views of downtown Danville and many reported that they were reluctant to visit places they were unfamiliar with,” she continued. “So, it is our hope that this event increased their awareness of all that downtown Danville has to offer and made them feel more welcome in their new home.”

This year, students visited local restaurants and shops, including Bluegrass & Buttercream, Cerci on Main, Danville Poke & Sushi, Dry Stack Coffee Roastery + Coffee Bar, Elmwood Inn Fine Teas, The Hub Coffee House, Maple Tree Gallery and Plaid Elephant Books.

“I thought this was a great event,” said Kate Snyder, owner of Plaid Elephant Books. “I appreciated that students needed to actually go into the shop to get ‘credit.’ A group of students even came back on their own later in the day to buy a birthday present for a friend, so I definitely call it a win.”

In addition, they had the opportunity to visit local organizations and non-profits, including the Art Center of the Bluegrass, Boyle County Public Library, Boyle County Farmer’s Market, CASA of the Bluegrass, Constitution Square, Danville–Boyle County African American Historical Society and the McDowell House Museum.

“We had a number of comments from visiting community members who were impressed to see so many students intentionally exploring and visiting different parts of downtown,” said Caleb Conover, public services librarian at the Boyle County Public Library.

Jeff Jewel, executive director of the Danville–Boyle Chamber of Commerce, said he felt like the Delve into Danville event went very well.

“The students all seemed to really enjoy the Farmers Market and getting to know our downtown merchants and tour their businesses,” he added. “We got a lot of very positive feedback from the business owners and farmers market vendors and staff who found the students interested, inquisitive and an absolute pleasure to interact with. They hope to see lots of the students they met on a regular basis and were delighted to welcome them to the Danville community.”

Weasner said the back of the Delve into Danville t-shirts, designed by Associate Director of Design for Brand and Stewardship Communications Tom Sturgeon said “Welcome Home,” and believes that was at the heart of this event.

“We want students to embrace Danville as their new home and for the community to embrace them,” she added.

Jewel expressed how happy not only he is but also the local businesses and the Danville community as a whole are to welcome the Class of 2025 to campus.

“We love our Centre students and sincerely hope they feel at home here,” he concluded.