Service with a smile

Karina Mehta (left), Alexandra Blasch (center) and Maria Coronelli weed the area around the flagpole at Gateway IT School Saturday, Sept. 3. The three freshmen were participating in Service First, WUSTL’s largest annual community service project that invites incoming students to get involved in the St. Louis community and challenges them to give back. Below, freshmen Michael Hoosier (left) and Karthik Krishnan work together to put a last bit of touch-up paint in the center of a U.S. map they and others painted on the playground of Ford Elementary. Service First began at WUSTL in 1999 with about 600 student volunteers helping to clean and beautify scenic trails. It has grown and flourished each year. Afterward, the volunteers — 73 percent of this year’s freshman class — returned to campus for a community service fair, where they learned more about the myriad community service opportunities in which they can get involved during their undergraduate years at WUSTL. Kevin Lowder