University prepares for annual Day of Service


Paul Crane

Courtesy of Villanova University

Jack Judge

This week marks the beginning of the University’s annual St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration. Six major events will comprise the week-long celebration as the community honors the patron saint of the University. For the past eleven years, students, faculty and other members of the community have come together to dedicate themselves to a day of service. Collectively, 45,000 members have volunteered at 185 sites around the Greater Philadelphia Region. Of these many locations, there are 55 sites with Villanova alumni. The St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service has produced more than 360,000 hours of significant work. 

“The Day of Service is a chance to put our Augustinian, Catholic Values into action,” according to an official University sponsored video promoting the event. 

Nearly 5,000 members of the Villanova community are registered to participate. Because of the magnitude of this emblematic event, the logistics that are required for sending volunteers off in a safe and organized way are essential for the day’s success. Each site is assigned a group or groups of volunteers, each of which is led by two key people: the Service Site Captain and the Group Leader. Upon the establishment of that connection, the two meet to discuss details for the day, ranging from anticipated responsibilities to parking directions. Also, the group leader is given the contact information for their site coordinator to further harmonize all of the parties that are involved. 

Síofra Cléirigh Büttner ’18, will serve as the group leader for the Women’s Varsity Cross Country team. “Motivating others to realize their capabilities and potential is as rewarding as achieving your own goals,” Büttner said, as she deliberated on the impact of her role. “Knowing that you’re helping people grow reminds you that you’re always a part of something bigger than yourself. This is a privilege that keeps me humble,” said Büttner who has seen tremendous success on the World Stage as a Track and Field athlete and as a conscientious student.

For the Class of 2021, this will be an introduction to an integral part of the Villanova experience. Large portions of the freshman class will be volunteering with their orientation groups. When asked about the significance of participating in her first day of service with Orientation Group 25, Aileen McBride ’21, offered a poignant reflection. 

Despite being strangers almost a month ago, “The Villanova Day of Service acts as a short term reunion to catch up with those we met on our first days here,” McBride said. “We will not only be able to compare each of our first few weeks here but also volunteer for a good cause in the area of Philadelphia. This volunteering experience builds on the values that were instilled in us during Orientation about the Villanova community.”

Villanova Baseball player Jonathan Rosero ’19 articulated his thoughts on the importance this day in terms of his student-athlete experience. “Villanova Day of Service is one of the most special things we get to partake in yearly throughout our [Baseball] careers here,” Rosero said. “It isn’t very often that we get the opportunity to go out and help a community and those in need. No matter where it is we go, every single person involved in the day of service is appreciative of the activities they are partaking in and even more so, they are appreciated by the people that they are helping in need.” 

He also emphasized how the day of service has reciprocal effects on becoming closer as a group. He details that, “for the newcomers of each team, Villanova Day of Service allows us all to come together as a team to help others and be a part of something very special.” Rosero stressed that the Day of Service, and other opportunities to give back to the community, are instrumental to the student-athlete experience at the University.

St. Augustine is famous for saying the higher our structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation. Amidst all of the physical change that is happening to the aesthetics of campus, this day is especially critical to rooting the University in its values and traditions so that the greater good can prevail as it pursues growth and development. Now in its twelfth year, the Villanova Day of Service inspires the community to ignite change and keep the momentum going throughout the rest of the school year.