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The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

1742 Experience Makes Impact on Lehigh Valley


On a humid week in late August, 26 Moravian students participated in service projects across their community through the University’s 1742 Experience.

The week-long orientation program invites selected first-year students to serve their community, acclimate to campus, and meet like-minded peers before the semester begins. Each day, the group visits a different site in need of service. Throughout the week there are various activities to strengthen students’ relationships and create a collaborative environment. 

The program is run by Kristina Scesa, director of Civic Engagement. “When we better understand each other, we better understand how we can build better supports for our community as a whole,” she said. “And when our community thrives, we thrive.” 

At the founding of Moravian University in 1742, the idea of service was imperative, according to Scesa. “1742 allows us to be able to ensure that we are providing a robust education for our students because…service is an educational experience,” she said.

The 1742 Experience was created in 2015 by Gillian Smith Sharkey, Scesa’s predecessor. Each year looks different, based on the success of previous years and the aim for a variety of service projects. The sites are picked by the team leaders, six upperclassmen who have participated in the program and are selected through an application and interview process.

Once students arrive on campus, the team leaders welcome and assist students and their families with moving in and getting settled. Then there is an orientation for the program that describes the week’s schedule and expectations, followed by team-building activities. 

The week consists of service-filled days across the Lehigh Valley. Service varies from day to day, to expose students to several sites and their stories. This variety allows students to find work that is meaningful to them and to use their skills in different environments. 

After each service day, students have time to decompress before an evening activity that’s designed to help them acclimate to Moravian. Students are given deeper dives into campus and helpful information from their team leaders. They also become familiar with The Center for Career and Civic Engagement as a support system for their journey at Moravian.

“The 1742 Experience was a rewarding first-year student program. We were able to complete a multitude of projects within the community, doing something different each day,” said 1742 Experience 2023 participant Natasha Goldman. “My favorite activity was landscaping for a nursing home, as we created a trickle pond in the shape of their logo. Later that day, we interacted directly with the residents and got to understand the great impact we had on them. The most beautiful part of this program was feeling the appreciation other people have for your service.”

Arin Peykar also found the experience rewarding. “As a 1742 team leader, we are part of the process with planning and execution of the entire week-long experience. The best part is how helpful all of our hard work is for the people in the Lehigh Valley community,” she said. “The week is full of service but also gives the incoming freshmen class a sneak preview of campus before the semester begins. I’ve been grateful to be a part of this program since my freshman year and seeing the difference I can make on campus and the surrounding area is why I keep coming back.”

To be selected for the program, students must complete an application and interview. At Accepted Students Days, there is a table with information about the program and pamphlets with a QR code to the application. Information is provided at the Getting Started at Moravian summer program that incoming freshmen attend and is in the New Student Orientation Packet and emails as the opportunity approaches. 

Once the application window is closed, students will be emailed about setting up an interview over Zoom. After interviews, Scesa and the team leaders choose applicants who demonstrate a strong commitment to service. Between 20 to 30 students are accepted to the program, depending on the number of support staff; Scesa says that she and her team try to accept all applicants.

The program’s website will be updated once applications are set up. You can also find updates and information on the Career and Civic Engagement Center’s Instagram page.

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