Students serve the community on Cal U’s Day of Service
January 29, 2020
Tuesday, Jan. 28, the Performance Center buzzed with activity as students volunteered their time to participate in Cal U’s Day of Service. From crafts to cards, many gathered to celebrate and honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through acts of service organized by the Center for Volunteer Programs and Service Learning. Amanda Andrews, VPSL graduate assistant, said a lot of work went into the planning of the event yet, it was worth effort.
“It’s a lot of fun and really encouraging hearing some of the nonprofits reaching out and seeing the impact,” said Andrews. “I know talking to Liberty Towers, they were so appreciative that we were going out and doing different things for them and giving them bags.”
According to Andrews, about 20 different activities were available to do from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. From this, around 50 nonprofit organizations would receive the resulted goods and crafts. Some crafts included stress balls made from balloons for the Special Olympics, sponge-water toys for the Mon Valley YMCA, trail mix bags for City Mission, treat bags for Beverly’s Birthdays, prayer boxes for the American Cancer Society, cat dog toys for the Washington Area Humane Society, thank you cards for Southwestern Veterans Center in Pittsburgh, flower pots for Center in the Woods, and more. Supplies, crafts, and food were donated by organizations such as AVI, Gamma Sigma Sigma, Delta Zeta, Cal Rocks, and Alpha Sigma Tau to help put on the event.
Andrews said lots of Greek life and clubs and organizations were stopping in to get service hours. Sophomore Gianna Crowley, 19, and her friends worked to create “bunny” gift bags filled with Valentine’s Day treats for the residents of Liberty Towers, a retirement home in California. Crowley said she had seen many people come in to help out and move around to different tables and activities, “it’s all hands on deck today.”
As Sigma Kappa’s vice president for philanthropic services, Crowley helps coordinate her sorority’s service. She believes that events like this one are great opportunities for people to spend time with one another while helping others.
“Service is important not only for the people that are getting the services but to create bonds with all your friends or sisters whoever it may be and meeting new people and being able to create bonds with them as well. You’re doing something great for yourself and for other people as well,” said Crowley.
At a table full of cut out paper flowers, senior Leslie Peters, 23, worked on making colorful wreaths. Peters also believes it’s important to lend a hand during time outside of schoolwork.
“It just takes time,” Peters said. “It doesn’t take skill or anything like that. It’s just a nice gesture, there’s nothing scary about it. You just come out and help out.”
“There are a lot of [volunteer] opportunities out there, if you’re looking,” Peters added.
“It’s just a day to honor [MLK] and doing service,” said Andrews. “We always try and do the service here on campus and try and bring projects from nonprofits here that way, especially in these winter months, when it’s normally snowy and terrible weather, we’re giving students somewhere to be so they don’t have to go off campus.”
A Day of Service is the beginning of a series of events to celebrate Black History Month at Cal U. Black History Month trivia, a panel discussion, and various musical and dance performances are all parts of this year’s theme “The Next 400 Years: Recognition, Restoration, and Resilience.”
To find more service events, log into Timecounts to sign up for various volunteer opportunities. For more information about Cal U’s Black History Month events, contact the office of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Education.