Members of High Point University's freshmen class began their semester with a team-building act of philanthropy. The group assembled 150 bicycles, then surprised kids from the YWCA and Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater High Point by giving them the bikes.
Gwenn Noel is the school's associate vice president for student experience. She says the project gives incoming freshmen a chance to experience service learning the very week they arrive on campus.
"We really believe in volunteering and giving back and service learning, and the best way to learn that is hands-on," says Noel.
Noel adds there is much joy to go around when the local kids arrive.
"Watching the children's faces when they came through the door, they had no idea they were getting a bike, so that was really exciting," says Noel.
Noel says HPU students, faculty and staff donated over 500,000 hours last year to volunteering in the community, with that number expected to increase as COVID restrictions lessen.
This is the fourth year for HPU's Bike Build project.