Community service opportunity proves valuable

The first Service Saturday of the 2015-2016 school year will be taking place this Saturday, Aug. 29.

Service Saturday takes place once a month and is an opportunity for students to go out into the Meadville community and do what they can to help residents and businesses.

Paige Missel, the AmeriCorps VISTA leader in the Allegheny Gateway said that this Service Saturday will be targeted towards mostly first -year students.

“This service commitment is to really get folks who are unfamiliar with Meadville or Civic Engagement or community service, to get them out there with a hands-on project,” Missel said. “It’s also really great bonding for freshman halls and for friends and I think it’s a really cool way to just dive in at Allegheny as a new student.”

Service Saturday is one of the smaller service commitments that the civic engagement office offers.

Missel said that Service Saturday is only a one time commitment and you can come back every month or just come on the months you have time.

There are many other service projects that are bigger commitments including the Bonner Leader Program, the Allegheny Volunteer Service Leader Program, becoming an Allegheny Civic Engagement Student Fellow and the Davies Community Service Leader Program. Students can also help out with Make a Difference Day in October which is one of the biggest community service programs that Allegheny offers. More than 700 Allegheny students participate every year.

Missel said this month’s Service Saturday will mainly be helping out local businesses. She said students will be doing anything from painting and hauling trash to working with animals and doing repair projects.

Nick Schake, ’16, has participated in Service Saturday over a dozen times in the past three years and will be participating again this Saturday.

“I first heard about Service Saturday through the Bonner Program freshman year,” Schake said. “Doing community service with new people sounded like a great chance to help out and meet new people.”

Schake said that helping with Service Saturday and many other community service opportunities at Allegheny has enriched his Allegheny experience.

“I leave whatever project we were doing that day feeling like I accomplished something, having met new people who care about the world around them and knowing more about the town of Meadville and the people who live here with me,” Schake said. “Saturdays are kind of lazy days and definitely not my most productive time, and Service Saturday, if nothing else, is a great way to jump-start my weekend.”

Heather Fish, the Davies Program Coordinator at the Allegheny Gateway, said her role has been to spread the word about the program as much as possible and work to get as many students involved as possible.

“The objective is service a local service project in the community,” Fish said. “Sometimes they won’t get the project done that day but it’s just as important to build relationships with the community as it is to do the project.”

Schake said that Service Saturday is a campus wide event that is a great opportunity for every student.

“[Service Saturday] leaves you with the satisfactions of having done something to help out your neighbors, and there’s really no better feeling,” Schake said.

Students can register online at MyAllegheny or they can come into the Allegheny Gateway in Pelletier Library to sign up.

All students participating will be meeting at the library at 9 a.m. for breakfast before heading out into the community.