Over 130 Alvernia students, faculty and staff participated in a series of cleanup service events over the past two weeks as part of the university’s annual Earth Day of Service event. The event Friday, April 23, marked the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic that a large-scale Day of Service was organized by the university’s Holleran Center for Community and Global Engagement.
“We were excited to once again be able to offer a true Day of Service for the Alvernia community, said Vice President for Community Engagement Dr. Rudy Ruth. “While we saw a lot of success during the fall semester with our Service Saturday Series, nothing can replace how our community comes together and lives our mission during our Days of Service.”
This year, Alvernia partnered with the Berks County Parks Department to perform beautification projects at the Berks County Heritage Center and clean up along the Angelica Trail. Students also helped perform some maintenance on the university’s Bog Turtle Creek Farm and Angelica Creek Trail.
“Students performed a much-needed service to our community,” said Assistant Director of the Holleran Center Alyssa Slade ’14 M ’16. “From preparing the Bog Turtle Creek Farm for growing season to getting a historical site ready for spring usage, our students were ready to help. COVID-19 exacerbated the needs already present in our community, so we were thrilled to be able to offer a safe event for everyone that helps address those needs.”
The university also took part in the City of Reading’s Great American Cleanup event on April 24. Participants cleaned trash in areas of the City’s 18th Ward, where Alvernia’s main campus resides. In addition, cleanup service events were held for students, faculty and staff at the Philadelphia and Schuylkill Campuses. Schuylkill students participated in a Schuylkill River trail cleanup in partnership with the borough while Philadelphia students participated in the 51st Annual Wissahickon Creek Clean Up at Roslyn Park.
“I loved getting outside today and being able to make a difference,” said communications major Meghan McCausland ‘21. “Looking at all the bags of trash and debris we were able to keep out of the creek and off the trail was satisfying and made us look back and see the difference we were able to make.”
A tradition that dates back to the 1990s, Alvernia typically hosts four Days of Service, including Freshman Orientation Day in August, St. Francis Day in October, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service in January and Earth Day in April.
Community service has its roots deeply embedded in the foundation of Alvernia University and is central to the mission of our Catholic, Franciscan institution. All Alvernia students must perform a minimum of 40 hours of community service before being certified for graduation, although most perform above and beyond this requirement.