Ada Schools gets some landscaping help from ONU students during ACE Day, Saturday, Aug. 22. (Photo submitted)
Ada Schools gets some landscaping help from ONU students during ACE Day, Saturday, Aug. 22. (Photo submitted)

ADA — Ada Civic Engagement Day, also known as ACE Day, was started in 2012 by Ohio Northern President Dan DiBiasio and his wife Chris Burns-DiBiasio. The idea was something they developed to encourage students, especially freshmen, to get involved with volunteering as soon as they step foot on campus. In addition, ACE Day presents an opportunity for the community and the college to reconnect each year. Students break up into groups and go out into the community wherever they are needed, such as Ada Schools, War Memorial Park, Fire Station, as well as residential homes. Businesses, organizations and citizens who could use an extra hand are encouraged to sign up.

This year ACE Day was held Aug. 22. While it is part of the freshmen welcome weekend, many faculty and alumni also participate. The day begins at the chapel which is located in the center of campus. Students, alumni and staff were welcomed by Dr. Adriane Thompson-Bradshaw Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, University President DiBiasio, Mayor David Retterer and University Chaplin Rev. Dr. David E. MacDonald.

Dr. Thompson-Bradshaw kicked off the event. She told students that ” a wise person once said volunteering is the ultimate experience in democracy ….you vote once a year, but when you volunteer you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.”

Thompson-Bradshaw thanked the group for getting involved. She said, “Only you know what motivated you to be here today but whatever your motivation we are pleased that you have chosen to join the community in such an active way.”

President DiBiasio talked about how appreciative he and his wife are of the fact that ONU’s students responded the call to service. He said “there will be many opportunities at Ohio Northern” to get involved with service work and volunteer “right here on campus as well as in the community and even as broad as the state and the national levels.”

Ada Mayor David Retterer also addressed the ACE Day volunteers. “Chris and Dan have done remarkable things with their time here in Ada, encouraging people to get off campus and come see the community”, said Mayor Retterer. He welcomed the students to the Community and encouraged them to seek out the churches, restaurants, stores and organizations during their time at Northern.

Last but not least, Chaplin Rev. MacDonald addressed the excited crowd. He shared the service theme for ACE Day as well as the entire academic year. Ohio Northern is one of five United Methodist Colleges in Ohio, and all five have collaborated together to develop a service plan centered around “Do All the Good You Can”. He challenged students to break free of the popular “technology zombie lifestyle”…to look up from their phones and see the world around them, because its only then that they can make a difference.