Students Participate in National Day of Service
In recognition and celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday and the National Day of Service Project, 10 Penn State Greater Allegheny students joined other Penn State students from around southwestern Pennsylvania to participate in group service projects.
The Greater Allegheny students and about 10-15 students from each of the Beaver, Shenango, Dubois, Fayette, and New Kensington campuses met at Penn State Beaver for a continental breakfast and meeting/debriefing to start the day. The students were then divided and assigned group activity projects around the Beaver County area.
One of the locations that needed assistance was the Uncommon Grounds Café located in Aliquippa. The team was tasked with cleaning out its basement to organize the inventory and publicly donated items such as children’s toys and clothes. Greater Allegheny student Alichea Peace was assigned there with seven others and said it was a large task to accomplish.
“At first I was unsure about it because the basement was so large and it seemed like it would be a never-ending job,” said Peace. “But then after hearing the background about the café and understanding more about how it’s a location that families and individuals from children to adults can go to receive help, friendship, food, and counseling, I felt much more proud of the work we did.”
Other locations to which the teams were assigned were the Center of Hope, The Women’s Center of Beaver County, the Humane Society, the Salvation Army and the Sisters of St. Joseph.
President of the Greater Allegheny Student Government Association, Matt Zupan, was assigned with a group to the Sisters of St. Joseph in Baden, an 88-acre campus "green space" that is home to the Motherhouse and the congregation's two sponsored ministries, Mount Gallitzin Academy and Villa St. Joseph.
Zupan was first assigned to clear out the dying vegetation around the property in preparation for a sitting area with benches and bird houses. The fact that the temperature was only in the teens made that an interesting and cold assignment. Then his group was assigned the task of picking flower buds off of dead marigolds in preparation to replant and replenish their garden. After lunch Zupan’s group then interacted with the sisters and that was his favorite part of the day.
“I enjoyed interacting with the sisters the most,” said Zupan. “I was the number caller for a game of Bingo and it was fun and interesting to come up with new ways to call the numbers and see how the women reacted. I enjoyed seeing who we were helping.”
Erin O’Malley, student activities coordinator, participated with the team assigned to the Women’s Center of Beaver County.
O’Malley’s team was asked to clear out and then organize a large storage shed with the donated items for the women in the shelter so that when someone was ready to begin living on their own again, they could “shop” in the shed for items they would need. Items such as clothes, decorations, toys, and linens were there to be organized.
“I felt very accomplished at the end of the day,” said O’Malley. “I think the overall feel from all of the students at the end of our assignments was one of accomplishment and achievement.”