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Building a tradition of service

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Mercyhurst University back-to-school tradition continues this year on Tuesday, Aug. 26, when nearly 700 students get their semester started by giving back.

This year’s Day of Service, a tradition during Welcome Week, will send students to 25 different service sites. A total of 31 faculty/staff leaders and 31 student “Laker Leaders” will join the first-year students as they complete a combined total of nearly 2,000 hours of community service across the Erie area.

“The Day of Service is a unique tradition for our first-year students because it’s the first thing they do as a class,” said Bethany Brun, coordinator of service learning at Mercyhurst. “Service forms bonds that last beyond those two hours in the community – many of our students choose to volunteer at the site they served.  Additionally, the time spent at their individual sites helps them realize they’re part not just of Mercyhurst, but also the Erie community. It begins to define them as ambassadors of service, a journey that will hopefully continue well beyond their years here at Mercyhurst.”

Projects include gardening, sorting food, park clean up, instructing older adults on their technological needs and painting. Volunteers will be escorted by bus from the front of Old Main at 9:40 a.m. This marks the first time the students will congregate around the Mary Garden prior to departure. Mercyhurst chaplain Father James Piszker will start their day with a blessing.

For more information about Day of Service or other service-learning initiatives, contact Bethany Brun at bbrun@mercyhurst.edu or 814-824-2343.

Meanwhile, the second annual Saints in Service Day will occur on Monday, Aug. 25, at various sites in North East from 9:30-11 a.m.

Michelle Simpson, director of student life at Mercyhurst North East, said she is expecting at least 150 students for the event. They will participate in various hands-on activities including gardening, painting and cleaning. Student groups will volunteer at the following sites: The Mercyhurst Farm, First Baptist Church of North East, Parkside Manor, United Methodist Church of North East, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, 4NINE Thrift Store and various locations around the North East campus.

The first 200 volunteers to sign up receive a free Saints in Service T-shirt.

For more information, contact Simpson at 814-725-7060.