McMurry University students stain a picnic table, left, and work in the Aldersgate United Methodist Church garden as part of a day of community service prior to school starting. Classes started Aug. 27 at all three of Abilene’s church-affiliated universities. As part of orientation week at each school, new students took part in community projects. Photos by Loretta Fulton


Abilene’s three church-affiliated universities kicked off the fall semester Monday, but the prior week was spent getting oriented to campus life and serving the community.

McMurry, Hardin-Simmons, and Abilene Christian all held some version of orientation the week before classes started. That’s a time for new students to get settled in, learn about the university and its traditions, meet professors, and start bonding with one another.

A major component of orientation week each year for all three universities is a stay spent doing community service projects around Abilene. One of the projects McMurry students could choose was helping members of Aldersgate United Methodist Church till their community garden in preparation for fall garden planting.

While one group cleaned up the garden, another stained picnic tables and a gazebo located at the garden, South 19th and Amarillo streets.

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