Day of Service Recap

Lauren Gresia

The University’s St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service is one of a kind. It is the largest community service event at the University, consisting of over 5,000 people assisting over 130 service sites throughout Philadelphia. It allows various groups both inside and outside the University community to come together and demonstrate the important values of the University—service and community to ignite change and unite as one.   

University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., PhD explained that the Day of Service was created back in 2006 to be a “one day event to capture the Veritas, Unitas and Caritas”—Truth, Unity, Love—of the University’s Augustinian ideals, pursuing knowledge and serving others. Due to the excitement and energy that the volunteers exerted from their volunteer experience back in 2006, it became a yearly event. This year’s twelfth Annual St. Thomas of Villanova Service Day has grown tremendously since the start. 

“It really captures the essence of what a community should be. People coming from all over the place to join together in a common effort,” Donohue shared. And that is just what this day establishes. Students, faulty, alumni and members of the outside community come together, comprising 240 groups. Within these groups, everyone is able to meet new people and work with those they do not have the opportunity to do otherwise. 

The day started off early in the morning on Saturday, Sept. 23, with Donohue’s sendoff speech. Despite the early hour, there was an enormous amount of energy flowing in the Jake Nevin Field House. Following the sendoff, all volunteers filed into their buses and cars and headed to the service sites such, as local neighborhoods, schools, churches, parks, community centers and other service organizations to either paint, clean, plant trees or assist with yard work. 

Some of the sites the volunteers worked at were places they were unfamiliar with. Here, the volunteers had a chance to connect with the organizations’ leaders to learn their stories and understand how the service preformed will impact that organization and make a difference. Freshman—beyond meeting new people at the service site—had the chance to reunite with their orientation counselors and groups to spend the day together. “Participating in Day of Service makes me proud to be a Villanovan,” shared Megan Dubar, College of Engineering ’21. “This community takes so much pride in giving back to the community around us, and I’m happy I am now a part of it.” 

The major success of the day would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of those on the committee. Over the past several months, the committee has put in many hours of work to ensure the day would run smoothly, coordinating with all of the service sites and organizing all of the behind the scenes tasks. Brian Fox, VSB ’18, student chair of the Day of Service, commented that “the Day of Service involves a lot of preparation, but the end reward is very fulfilling. The day is able to bring everyone together to share lots of laughs, have fun and meet new people at the service sites.” 

Battling through the hot day, students put in a lot of hard work, making them feel a part of something bigger for the greater good. One of the University’s missions is to provide students with opportunities for growth, learning and personal development. St. Thomas of Villanova Service Day accomplishes all three throughout this day, creating an event for students to work as a team to accomplish a task, making a difference both in the world and themselves to ignite change.