Service Saturday encourages engagement with community

All Allegheny students are welcome to participate in this year’s first Service Saturday, hosted by Civic Engagement in the Allegheny Gateway, on Sept. 2.

“Our goal for the first Service Saturday is to get more freshmen into the community and to learn more about the organizations in Meadville,” said Corey Razevich, the Americorps VISTA representative and co-coordinator of the Service Saturday programs in the Civic Engagement office.

“Service Saturdays occur once a month and the projects change depending on the month,” Razevich said. “For example during the first month, an organization may have us help clean, but during the next, need help with mentoring youth.”

Cate Hovey, ’18, and Andy Nunn, ’18, have been participating in Service Saturdays since their first years at Allegheny.

“I really enjoy service and these events have opened a lot of doors and connections,” Hovey said. “It has helped me meet people in Meadville and I’ve gained a lot of experience through working at various service sites.”

Nunn, who is also the student project coordinator of this year’s Make a Difference Day, a nationally recognized service day on Oct. 14 where over one hundred projects are completed in Meadville, had a similar experience to Hovey.

“Community service has changed my life,” Nunn said. “It genuinely feels good and I have met new people and I like making sure the people I’m with are having a good time as well.”

Razevich said he expects a large turnout for the first Service Saturday of the year.

“Typically we get about sixty to seventy Allegheny students who volunteer, but for the first one this year we are expecting around one hundred,” Razevich said.

Service Saturdays are also targeted towards first year students according to Nunn. Coming to campus, students can be isolated from engaging in the community, but aiming the event at first year students could remedy the problem.

“Since most incoming students don’t know a lot about Meadville and there aren’t many opportunities to get into the community, this is a great event for first years,” Hovey said.

Despite a lack of a close-knit relationship between Meadville and Allegheny, community service can help forge a strong bond among the two.

“It allows new students to get involved in the community and meet people who are doing good work and are like-minded individuals,” Nunn said. “There is often separation between Meadville and Allegheny, but projects like these allow for mutual appreciation and engagement between the two.”

During a Service Saturday last year, Hovey raked a community member’s lawn and said she was thanked with a bag of fudge.

“It was my favorite memory from a Service Saturday,” Hovey said. “It showed how valued our time was to help out Meadville’s residents.”

Service Saturday and Civic Engagement are also connected to bigger projects in Allegheny’s Gateway.

“These events help students find their interests and help build resumes for internships and jobs in the future,” Razevich said. “The offices in the learning commons are geared to help students from start to finish, from finding volunteer work, to building a resume, to finally finding an internship.”

Nunn said since he has been participating in Service Saturdays since his freshman year in 2012, that volunteer work has truly changed his life.

“My involvement in Service Saturdays has blossomed into various work in Meadville and now the opportunity to be the coordinator of Make a Difference Day,” Nunn said. “It has really ignited my passion for community service in general and that’s something I feel really good about.”

If you are interested in volunteering for this year’s first Service Saturday, sign up through myAllegheny or email Davis Program Coordinator Bethany Cocchi at [email protected].