Olivet College students are preparing for the first service trip of the academic year to Port Austin, Mich. Participants will leave Friday, Sept. 11 and return to Olivet Sunday, Sept. 13. Leading the trip is Mike Fales, the college’s director of service learning and campus ministries.
Fales has been taking students to Port Austin since 2009. The first project they completed was with the Port Austin History Center. A building was donated to the Port Austin Historical Society and volunteers, including ones from Olivet, completed renovations that have turned it into the beautiful building it is today, which opened its doors to the public in June 2013.
The new, ongoing project that Olivet College students will participate in is the renovation of the Port Austin Reef Lighthouse. Participants on the trip during the two previous years were able to go to the lighthouse, which is located two miles off of the lakeshore, and scope out what needed to be done with a few members of the Port Austin community.
Port Austin is one of three locations that students will travel to this semester for weekend service trips. An excursion to Rochester, Pa., a suburb of Pittsburgh, is scheduled in October with Hosanna Industries. Fales will also be taking students to the Morgan-Scott Project in Deer Lodge, Tenn., later in the semester. A new trip has also been added this fall to West Virginia to help with flood relief.