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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Impact of first-year students on Wofford’s campus

Photo courtesy of @wocomeaningfulconnections on Instagram – Meaningful Connections held their first meeting in Acorn Cafe. They spent their first meeting writing cards.

Wofford College has always brought in leaders.

The 2022-2023 first-years have been no exception, starting organizations and initiatives across campus, including community service organizations, special interest clubs and fundraising efforts to help those impacted by the Turkey earthquake.

Victoria Davis ‘26 began a club called Meaningful Connections in October. The goal of Meaningful Connections is to connect Wofford students to older adults in the Spartanburg community.

Davis was heavily connected to community service efforts throughout middle and high school. As a child, Davis visited nursing homes with her grandmother. Through that experience, she realized how isolated residents were and how much they needed social connection.

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As a result of that experience, she wanted to keep serving at Wofford.

“I always knew that wherever I went to college, I would want to start a club. One of Wofford’s main selling points was how student-driven it was,” Davis said.

Right now, there is not another organization on campus similar to Meaningful Connections. The aim of the organization is to establish intergenerational connections, through community service.

The organization meets on Fridays at 5 p.m. They have held events such as card writing and movie nights as well as visited older generations in local long term care facilities close to campus.

Meaningful Connections has visited Pacifica Senior Living Facility. Davis is also working on setting up a mentorship program with Summit Hills, another long term care facility. They are also looking to expand intergenerational connection through a mentorship program for Wofford students to mentor elementary school students.

Another student initiative on campus has been the fundraising efforts of Mina Gencoguz ‘26. Gencoguez is originally from Istanbul, Turkey, located on the western border of Turkey.

On Feb. 6, two earthquakes with a 7.6 and 7.8 magnitude impacted Syria and Turkey. Gencoguz was originally alerted by her roommate of the earthquakes.

Gencoguz checked in with her family and found that the earthquake occurred in eastern Turkey.

The earthquakes on Feb. 6 destroyed 11 cities in Turkey and more in Syria. One of the cities the earthquake destroyed had 2 million people living there.

“At first I was just going to repost a story about a fundraiser for the earthquake. When I was about to post the story, I thought about how the story would be gone in 24 hours,” Gencoguz said. “I knew I needed to do something.”

As soon as she learned, she made flyers advertising a fundraiser, but she later discovered this was not allowed.

Eventually, she reached out to college chaplain Rev. Ron Robinson to organize fundraising efforts. Robinson thought that was a great idea and wanted Gencoguz to be the face of the Turkey and Syria earthquakes fundraising efforts.

Gencoguz organized an earthquake week, created to fundraise for those affected in Syria and Turkey. Earthquake week was held from Mar. 13 to Mar. 17. The fundraising efforts during this week raised $1,545.

Wofford has given Gencoguz, Davis and other first-year students opportunities to get out of their comfort zones and to make a difference on campus, which has been noticed by upperclassmen, including student body president Thomas Cuttino ‘23.

“Their competitive edge is foremost. After interacting with many of the first-year students throughout my senior year, it is clear they are inspired, by the good influence of our Wofford community, to take on and create great things,” Cuttino said. “Certainly, the future of Wofford will be extraordinary.”

First-year students have dramatically impacted Wofford’s campus their first semesters here. The future of the Wofford student body is in great hands.

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Katie Kirk
Katie Kirk, Managing Editor
Government Major from Greenville, SC
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