Volunteering offers post-grad option

Daniella Bellafiore

Considering the various and numerous volunteer opportunities offered by Villanova University, it is hard to complete four years of undergraduate education without participating in at least one volunteer activity. In addition to all the activities that Campus Ministry has organized, VUSeniors has arranged Senior Day of Service, open to all students in the class of 2006. Senior Day of Service takes place on October 1st, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., with buses leaving from Pike Lot at precisely 11:00 a.m. Students who have signed up for this program will work with the North Light Community Center for the day to help make a difference in the community and ultimately make Philadelphia a better place. The day will also be dedicated to the youth of Philly, as student volunteers will interact with children of all ages. A bagged lunch will be provided and students can expect to be back on campus at approximately 2:30 p.m. By taking part in this VUSeniors event, Villanova students not only will improve the conditions of this city that is a mere 12 miles away from campus, but also will be rewarded with the satisfaction that their actions have made someone else’s life better. According to Carrie Neff, a post-graduate Campus Ministry intern, students have a powerful and significant presence at almost all service programs provided by Villanova. Neff attended Villanova during her undergraduate studies, where she became extremely involved in the volunteer opportunities that still can be found on campus. One popular program supported by the Office of Campus Ministry is COV (Community Outreach of Villanova) which provides daily trips to Philadelphia area schools for tutoring, soup kitchens for serving meals and shelters for one-on-one interaction. Students have the option of choosing days and times that better fit with their schedules and helping out whenever possible. Because of the popularity of the Service Break Trips offered during the fall and spring semester breaks, Campus Ministry organized Habitat Saturdays. Through this popular program, students are sent to build homes in Philadelphia every Saturday morning.Neff looks back on her own experience, saying, “Through involvement in Service Break Trips, Balloon Day and Special Olympics, I started to understand the notion of living for something much bigger than my own life, something beyond managing my everyday routine undertakings.” In addition, there are many post-graduate service opportunities. Students can apply during their senior year for one-to-two year programs or intern for the Office of Campus Ministry while completing a master’s degree. The intern will live in a residence hall and spend 25 hours per week in resident hall ministry. Also, every year The Villanovan posts a list of alumni who have moved to various volunteer programs. Students who are interested in volunteering after undergraduate studies or applying for an internship can inquire by contacting the Office of Campus Ministry at x94080 or attending the Volunteer Fair for Post-Graduate Service held on Tuesday, November 15th from 7-9 p.m. in the Villanova Room. Many students discover their passion for service and helping others during their undergraduate years by participating in various volunteer programs. Carrie Neff is an example of an individual whose passion for helping those in need was fueled by her volunteer experience at Villanova University.She claims, “Villanova had polished my academic and leadership talents, but, more important, it had gently reminded me where they are needed most.” Senior Day of Service is a chance for all seniors to help out a community that neighbors the university and is in much need of volunteer help. It’s an opportunity for those who have never participated in a volunteer program to undergo the experience, as well as an additional option for those who have engaged in previous volunteer work. Students can sign up for the Senior Day of Service at 214 Dougherty or through an online form at the Student Life website: http://www.villanova.edu/seniors/SeniorSteps/seniorsteps.htm.