Freshmen, veterans bond over bingo at annual day of service

Charlie Lee | Hatchet Photographer
Freshmen prepared letters and care packages for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Surivors, which helps families who have lost a family member in military service. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Tim Palmieri.

Freshmen and University President Steven Knapp huddled around bingo cards Saturday with veterans at the Armed Forces Retirement Home.

“I-26,” Knapp called out before freshmen Hannah Silverman and Elyssa Clauson gave each other a high five as their team moved one space closer to victory.

Freshmen split into groups at the retirement home for veterans of the armed forces, with some writing thank-you cards and filling care packages for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors while others played bingo and chatted with the elderly veterans. The freshman class spread across the District on Saturday for the sixth annual Freshman Day of Service to volunteer with more than two dozen community groups.

“It’s a great way to get involved in the D.C. community,” freshman Ashna Kapoor said. “All of us coming together from different parts of the country and coming together to help out is something special.”

The students who worked with TAPS prepared packages for families still reeling from the death of a loved one during service in the military.

“Working with TAPS has been great,” said freshman Zoe Dorau. “It’s sad to know every name on the card list has suffered, but it’s a great experience and I’m really happy I came.”

Between licking stamps and stuffing envelopes, conversations began with the usual questions: “Where are you from?” and “What’s your major?” But students quickly found common ground with the veterans, and the groups started to share cheesy knock-knock jokes and the names of favorite TV shows.

Students listened as the veterans shared some words of wisdom and the veterans in turn asked about college life.

“I’m impressed the University throws this event, especially when talking to my friends from other schools who don’t do anything like this,” freshman Peter Baumann said.

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