College's volunteer group seeks help paying costs Western Md. appeals to community for funds

February 28, 1997

SERVE, an alternative spring break program for students at Western Maryland College, is growing so much that the organization can't cover rising costs.

Students Engaged in Rural Volunteer Experience, gets limited funding from the college's Student Government Association, but not enough to cover rising transportation and other expenses, said senior Dan Wooten, student coordinator.

Members are trying to raise money through small sales, but Wooten said they will need further help from the community.

The program, which began last year with five students, has 15 students signed up for a March trip and several more have been turned away.

"I don't like telling people they can't go," said Wooten, a physics major from Dundalk. "We would like to try to build the program so that we have 50 or 60 students with several groups serving in different sections of the country. But that's going to be almost impossible unless we get some outside help."

Van rentals for the group are almost $1,000 per vehicle for next month's trip to Dungannon, a former coal mining town in southwestern Virginia's Appalachia region, he said.

Last year's SERVE group also went to Dungannon, where it built a bedroom onto a family's small mobile home and continued work on the town's new bed-and-breakfast, part of a local effort to create jobs and bring more tourists to the economically depressed area.

"It was one of the greatest weeks of my life," Wooten said. "Students take a lot for granted. I have the chance to go to college, earn an education and establish a good career. A lot of people don't have that opportunity, so I felt I could, and should, give up my free time to help out."

Information on SERVE: 857-2294.

Pub Date: 2/28/97

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