Much is made of the benefit of having fine academic institutions in the Central Susquehanna Valley. One of the most important assets -- the students -- is often overlooked.

The region is blessed by the energy, enthusiasm and community service provided by the thousands of young adults who attend college here. A project to renovate the teen center at the Milton YMCA is an excellent example of this. The Y's teen room is heavily used on weekend nights. That is, it had been heavily used. It has been closed for a facelift. It reopened Friday.

For a Bucknell class project, students were told to market a product and use the proceeds for a community service project. A group of 20 students sold mugs carrying the university's logo. The proceeds from the sale were used to finance renovations at the teen center. Teams of students spent several afternoons spackling, sanding and repainting the teen room. Brighter lights were purchased and installed. They also rearranged pool tables, a foosball table and a number of chairs. A section of one wall was covered in special paint so the teens can draw with chalk.

The initiative offered an added advantage -- the college students' actions provided a positive model for their younger peers. Generosity is infectious.

The project at the Milton Y is just one of many community service projects undertaken by college students in the region. Some travel thousands of miles to help far-off neighbors. It is admirable that they do so. It is nice too when students choose to help others closer to home, as well.

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