Service Saturday, a monthly event organized by Civic Engagement in the Allegheny Gateway, continues on Saturday, Feb. 27. Dave Roncolato, the director of Civic Engagement, said the program, which has run for the past decade, is expected to consist of about 100 volunteers.
AmeriCorps VISTA Leader Lee Scandinaro, ’15, said that while Service Saturday mainly consists of students, Civic Engagement has been trying to recruit more faculty and administrators to get involved.
Roncolato said the program started in part from student volunteerism.
“The Service Saturday program began in response to students’ interests in opportunities to do service,” Roncolato said.
Service Saturday is a program that involves students in the Meadville community participating in direct service. Scandinaro said both individuals and nonprofit organizations reach out to Allegheny College to utilize its resources.
Roncolato emphasized the ability of each Service Saturday to build connections between the college and Meadville.
“Service Saturday is a great conduit for students to get involved [during and after Service Saturday],” Roncolato said.
Roncolato said that while students’ involvement in Service Saturday builds connections between the college and Meadville, involving faculty and administrators will strengthen the bond.
“At Allegheny, like many schools, you have an influx of students who are here for four years and then they leave,” Roncolato said. “Faculty are here for much longer.”
Community engagement programs have grown since their initiation. While the first Make a Difference Day, a large service-oriented program similar to Service Saturday hosted early in the fall semester every year, involved around 120 students, Roncolato said this number has grown to nearly 600. About 100 students are expected at the smaller Service Saturday each month. Roncolato said faculty and administrators have previously been involved in Make a Difference Day.
Scandinaro said an increased role of administrators and faculty is something he hopes to make more of a reality.
“[Administrators] working along with students and colleagues could be beneficial for the college,” Scandinaro said.
Faculty members who have participated in Service Saturday said the program has helped them build connections within Meadville.
“I think [through Service Saturday] I’ve become more of a member of the Meadville community,” said Derek Li, new media designer for the Office of College Relations. “I think it’s pretty easy to just work at the college and hang out with people from the college and, aside from living in the Meadville community, not really participating in it.”
Li said he got involved in Service Saturday originally through Make a Difference Day, where he and a group of faculty organized a group to participate in the community. However, Li also said he has not seen a similar group organized for Service Saturday.
“It would be nice to see that,” Li said.
Scandinaro emphasized the possibility of connecting the college through Service Saturday.
“I really do believe that [Service Saturday] could be a really beneficial opportunity,” Scandinaro said.