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BUILD gives students a head start on college career
About 80 GSU freshmen expected to participate in program
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This week, 80 Georgia Southern University freshmen will begin their college career with BUILD, a volunteer leadership and service opportunity that gives them a head start on their college experience. It is the third year Southern Pathways has conducted BUILD, an acronym that stands for Building Undergraduate Involvement in Leadership Development.

            BUILD students will labor with two local organizations, Habitat for Humanity and Kingdom Builders during the day, then spend their evenings participating in leadership activities and talking over the experiences of their day. Two BUILD experiences are planned, one one began Sunday and ends Thursday and a second for Aug. 10-14.

            “As they participate in the hands-on BUILD experience, students learn that leadership begins with service,” says Jodi Middleton, assistant director of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement. “That’s the most important aspect of the program. At the end of the program, BUILD students will have logged more than 1,000 community service hours.”

            Each day of the BUILD program focuses on a leadership theme: building community; ethical leadership; service learning; creating a vision and action plan; and diversity.

            "When their semester starts, BUILD students are already familiar with the campus and community, and they’ve had an opportunity to get acquainted with other students,” says Diana Hensley, Coordinator of Civic Engagement in the Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement. “It’s a great way for students to transition from their hometowns, and it’s a way to get to know campus and community.”

            BUILD students live in the same residence hall during the session to facilitate discussions of the days’ work and other leadership topics. Upperclass mentors serve as BUILD leaders, guiding the students’ conversation about their experiences.

            Southern Pathways will also present Wilderness Introduction to Leadership Development –WILD – with the help of Campus Recreation and Intramurals. Eight students, led by CRI’s  Dustin Sanderson, will take a five-day backpacking trip in the mountains of north Georgia. They will hike during the day and spend their evenings in leadership activities and discussions. Like BUILD, each day of the program focuses on a theme.

            Area students who will be freshmen at Georgia Southern and are interested in BUILD or WILD may call (912) 478-1435, send an e-mail to, or visit to learn more about the program.

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