NORTH MANCHESTER – The phrase “paying it forward” isn’t too far off the minds of Manchester University junior Connor Eichenauer and freshman Karly Eichenauer.

A home life in the North Manchester area with mom and dad, Joel and Lori, is a big reason why the brother and sister combination is always looking for ways to serve, not only the campus but also the broader community itself.

“It’s an amazing feeling (being able to attend Manchester University after growing up in North Manchester),” Karly said.

“The people in town were so supportive (during my pre-college days). I now understand the phrase ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ because of that. It’s been important to give back to those same people by what I do in college and to have the opportunity to do community service work.”

Both Karly and Connor are Manchester High School graduates and were standout athletes for the Squires.

“(Community service and giving back) is the right thing to do,” Connor said. “We, as college students, can do so and be able to show our skills and what we’ve been learning that way.”

Their parents’ thoughts about the importance of community service work are spotlighted through the work both of them did with the North Manchester Early Learning Center in its infant stages.

“Mom and dad pushed us out of our comfort zone,” Karly said. “We were working with others to raise funds initially, but they wanted us to take it a step farther and continue with assisting the organization. It was a good lesson in balancing that type of work and my others of life (school work, athletics, etc.). You can always take time to help others.”

“It was a good way for us to see the fruits of labor from doing something like that,” Connor said. “Being able to canvas the town for something that important was great.”

Their pre-collegiate opportunities in community service have made it a smooth transition to doing so while on campus.

“Being affiliated with the Church of the Brethren, giving of yourself to others is among their core beliefs,” Karly said. “With that in mind, we, as students, can forward the relationship the campus has with the town. With what we do, new and prospective students can see how important community service work is to the Manchester University experience.”

“(Community service work) is so beneficial individually,” Connor said. “It enables a person to develop into leadership roles which can arrive at any time in someone’s life.”

Connor’s point was brought to the forefront last month when Manchester University men’s and women’s tennis coach Eric Christiansen stepped down. Without a head coach at the start of the spring season, he helped get his teammates into action to handle many behind the scenes tasks they weren’t aware of.

“There are plenty of things to do when it comes to getting ready (for a season),” Connor said. “I don’t think any of us knew how many. We all came together and divvied up the responsibilities. I was able to set up a schedule of the tasks, and it all came together. It was great to see the team work together like that.”

Beyond the community service, studying toward post-collegiate plans in industrial organization (Connor) and being a doctor (Karly) and competing on the Spartans’ tennis programs, Connor and Karly do get enjoyment from other pursuits. Connor noted he enjoys being as involved on campus as possible with the honors program and social events, while Karly sometimes takes to nature.

“I’ve had a love for hiking since I was little,” she said. “Mom and dad used to get us out into the wilderness and nature when we were growing up … to get us exposure to the world around us. Depending on my schedule, I’ll go about 15 minutes north of campus to a nature preserve and hike around for 15 minutes to an hour.”

Appreciating life on and off campus and within the community … Connor and Karly Eichenauer continue to stay involved.