Went to New City this morning with a bunch of students and a couple of other faculty to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. Apparently this is required for first-year students, part of freshman orientation. I'm not entirely down with the concept of mandatory volunteering (isn't that some sort of oxymoron?), but it is a neat idea. I didn't really have a clue what I was doing, so I just did what people told me to, but I helped plant some trees and inventory the building equipment, and put down lots and lots of sod. They were just about finished with the houses (families moving in this afternoon), so there were just the yards left to do. Amazing how much difference a little sod and a few bushes can make -- it turns the place from a construction site into a real yard more or less instantly.
Overheard, from one freshman guy to an older volunteer: "Why do people do this when they don't have to?" OK, maybe not everybody thinks it's a neat idea.
Approximately forty-two hours left until I teach my first class here. Eeep!