TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — New students at a local university are continuing a tradition of giving back to the community.

Indiana State University celebrated Donaghy Day, a day of service for incoming first-year students.

Named after Fred Donaghy, graduate of the Normal School (1912) and a professor of life sciences, Donaghy Day was initiated in 1976 as a day set aside for the community to celebrate the season and to work to help beautify the campus and surrounding community.

Indiana State Website page about Donaghy Day

Every year, before the first day of class, new students do service projects in Vigo County and the surrounding areas. This year 500 students gathered at Hulman Center to pack 72,000 meals for the Million Meal Movement.

In 2007, Dan and Nancy Hintz began the Million Meal Movement with a two-fold vision: feeding the hungry and teaching the importance of volunteerism. As Million Meal Movement has grown, we have carried out this vision by empowering volunteers of all ages as we make a tangible impact together.

Million Meal Movement website About Us

The effort will help feed local families. Alex Whitmore, the Assistant Director at the Center for Community Engagement said that the idea is to show students the importance of helping others early on.

“We have a passion to say ‘Look, you are all Terre Haute citizens while you’re here for those four years, so during that time, give back to your community. Give back to Terre Haute.’ That’s why I love my job, because I give back every single day to the people of Terre Haute and this area,” said Whitmore.