Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2011, 7:45 pm

Augustana students connect with the community

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By Anthony Watt, awatt@qconline.com

Photo: Anthony Watt
Kevin Root, 18, of Elmhurst, Ill., spending time with some cats Saturday at the Quad City Animal Welfare Center in Milan as part of Augustana College's Community Connection event.
Some new Augustana College students got a chance Saturday to meet some of their new neighbors -- some furry ones.

A number of first-year students visited the Quad City Animal Welfare Center in Milan as part of the college's annual Community Connection. The event gives students a chance to see what kind of volunteer activities are available in the area.

Other students were scattered around the Quad- Cities, trying their hand at other volunteer opportunities, including at Longfellow Elementary School, St. John's Lutheran Church,Sisters of Humility Food and Donation Center, Children's Therapy Center, Friendship Manor, Keep Rock Island Beautiful Clean-up, Habitat for Humanity (Davenport and Moline), Place2b, World Relief, Sylvan Island and Sylvan Slough.

"It's a good way to meet people and get involved," said Matt Kole, 18, of Carol Stream, Ill., "You're not just going through the motions, you're doing stuff."

He was among a group of students at the animal shelter who were spending time with at least a dozen cats. The cats, of course, were soaking up as much attention as the young men and women could dish out.

"I love it, it's so great," Kayla Fernandez, 18, Riverside, Ill., said. "I'm falling in love with all of these cats."

In another part of the building, the dogs were getting walked, or -- in the case of Duke the energetic boxer -- the student was getting walked by the dog.

The student volunteer group Circle K organized the trip to the shelter through the program and has a long history with the shelter.