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Students’ Community Service Helps Make Holidays Merry for Area Youths

December 17, 2015

Santa’s Helpers: Students put their problem-solving skills to good use by assembling more than 400 bicycles and tricycles on campus for Terre Haute’s Bikes For Tykes program. This marked the 20th consecutive year that students assisted with the project. Click image above for slideshow.

The holiday season will be brighter for hundreds of Wabash Valley youths, thanks to the generosity of Rose-Hulman student, faculty, and staff volunteers for several community service programs.

Hundreds of students from campus organizations gathered on December 12 to assemble more than 400 bicycles and tricycles for Terre Haute’s Bikes For Tykes project. The institute’s Facilities Operations Center was turned into Santa’s Workshop with 40 workstations for students to assemble, place tire pressure, inspect, sort, and deliver the bicycles.

"Building these bikes is really fun. We’re a bunch of engineers building bikes. That's our dream land," says senior electrical engineering student Mallory McDevitt, a Bikes For Tykes volunteer throughout her Rose-Hulman academic career. "You know that a little kid is going to get a bike and be ecstatic about it. There’s nothing better than getting a bike on Christmas. And, it’s great to know that we played a small part in that joy.”

On the same Saturday, members of the Phi Gamma Delta and Pi Kappa Alpha fraternities assisted with the local Clothe-A-Child and Shop-With-A-Cop programs, helping children pick out clothing and toys at local department stores. Alpha Tau Omega members joined other Greek-affiliated organizations in presenting gifts to local children at special holiday parties organized for Terre Haute’s Big Brother Big Sister and Ryves Hall Youth Center groups.

Meanwhile, a campus-wide Mitten Tree campaign had hundreds of mittens, gloves, and scarfs donated for local elementary school students, and the American Society of Civil Engineers chapter once again made a sizable contribution to the Terre Haute Tribune-Star’s Christmas Basket Fund. The newspaper provides holiday dinner baskets annually for hundreds of local families.

“Rose-Hulman students are always gracious with their time and talents. For some local kids, a bike may be the only present they will be getting this Christmas,” states Bikes For Tykes Administrator Julie Wheatley, program coordinator for Terre Haute’s Chances and Services for Youth organization. “We couldn’t assist all of these children without the helping hands provided by Rose-Hulman students.”

This was the 20th year that Rose- Hulman students have assembled bicycles for the Bikes For Tykes project.