Across the PennWest campuses, students are teaming up to give back. Students gave their time and their resourcefulness to raise funds for others on campus, for people in need in the local communities, and to benefit local, state and national organizations.
On California’s campus, the week of Nov. 13 was a prime example of student philanthropy. Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week began Monday with Rise Against Hunger in Natali Student Center. Rise Against Hunger is a meal-packing event in which students packed 10,000 meals to be shared around the world. Approximately 50 students volunteered. Caring continued Tuesday with the Box Out for Turkeys drive hosted by fraternities to bring awareness to homelessness and raise funds for the Turkey and Togetherness program. Through the program, FIJI and Phi Sigma Sigma collected donations over a two-week period for local families to receive a Thanksgiving meal package. They collected perishable and nonperishable items for 26 families and raised $225.
PennWest Pantry hosted a Free Market on Wednesday of that week, when students in need could select donated items at no cost. Thursday featured a Food Collection Drive that helped to stock the PennWest Pantry at California. Throughout the week, in lieu of paying a $25 on-campus parking ticket, students could donate six jars of peanut butter and jelly to the parking office. Toys for Tots collected toys to donate to area children.
Additionally, the Hunger-Free Campus Grant provided the opportunity to give Break Bags – bags filled with perishable and nonperishable items – to students who stay on campus during break. Students at all PennWest campuses participated in this new program, which will be available over the winter break as well. All campuses will participate in an end-of-semester drive to collect items for PennWest Pantry.
PennWest Clarion sororities had an active 2022-23 academic year.Combined, the sorority sisters volunteered 1,647 hours and raised $9,603, and donated items.
Delta Phi Epsilon raised $1,077 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and $1,228 for the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. They partnered with the Community Self Defense Workshop, the Building Bridges program, Allies and other chapters on various events.
Delta Zeta raised $3,087 for Starkey Hearing Foundation and collaborated with University Activities Board, Sigma Chi, Sigma Phi Epsilon and the Clarion Fire Company to host events.
Phi Sigma Sigma collected and donated items to PASSAGES and Kids in Need Foundation. The sisters worked with the Community Learning Workshop’s Women’s History event and held a clothing drive for sexual assault survivors at Clarion Hospital. They held a supply drive for Clarion Area Schools and worked with PASSAGES on sexual assault awareness events.
Sigma Sigma Sigma raised $400 for Sigma Serves Children. They collaborated on events with every sorority, as well as Black Student Union, Allies, CINTA, SAFE, Hip-Hop Team, the Divine Dolls, Bacchus, the Career Center, Clarion Theatrical Alliance, Student Senate, Clarion County Drug Free Coalition and Building Bridges.
Zeta Tau Alpha worked to raise $1,100 for breast cancer education and awareness. They were co-hosts for Black Student Union’s Snow Ball, Athletics’ Pink Out game, a supply drive for local schools and a food drive for local churches.
The Greek community raised $1,064 for Chiari Malformation at Greek Sing. They participated in Welcome Weekend tours, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion workshop, a women’s empowerment event, PennWest admissions events and blood drives.
More than 70 Edinboro students, representing five campus organizations, raked and bagged leaves in 21 yards for local elderly residents and individuals with disabilities. The project was part of Edinboro's annual Random Acts of Kindness in Edinboro initiative.
“Each year, we get a lot of positive feedback from community members who appreciate spending time with the students and seeing them help others,” said Dave Goodwill, PennWest’s director of student engagement. “Our students really have a great time, and they enjoy getting to know those that they are serving.”
The entire campus is taking part in Student Health Services’ annual Happy Holidays bucket drive, which benefits Edinboro’s PennWest Pantry. Offices, departments and students clubs are encouraged to fill buckets with non-perishable food, personal care items and cleaning products for students in need. Nearly 700 pounds of donated items were collected last year.
Lambda Chi Alpha raised more than $5,000 for the Edinboro Food Pantry during its annual "Fulcrum for Food" campaign. Members braved the elements over a series of three days, taking turns riding a wooden fulcrum and collecting funds from motorists and pedestrians on the corner of Meadville and East Normal streets.
Edinboro students from PennWest’s Department of Exercise and Sports Science visited Mill Village Elementary School for a Kits for Kids project. They led fourth graders in building first aid kits and shared knowledge on using the supplies in emergency situations.
The Wildlife Society of Edinboro is collecting gifts for animals at the Erie Humane Society as part of its Presents for Paws initiative. Members of the campus community are encouraged to pick up a tag from a tree in Cooper Science Center and return donated items.