The Catholic University of America

Feb. 22, 2012

Student Groups Contribute to Service Challenge

  Alpha Phi Omega service
  Alpha Phi Omega members Megan Bertino and Brittany Lightfoot-Benjamin help out with a blood drive at the Pryzbyla Center.

Last May, the Office of Campus Activities challenged each of Catholic University’s student organizations to perform at least 125 hours of service.

By early February, most of them had met the challenge — part of the University’s Cardinal Service Commitment in honor of CUA’s 125th anniversary.

“The student organizations have taken this challenge seriously and have each played a major role in helping the University complete its goal,” says Katie Jennings, director of campus activities.

The student organizations are engaging in a variety of projects to contribute to the challenge, which started last May and ends on April 10. They include homeless food drives, mission trips, and raising money for cancer research.

“We have gotten a very positive response from our student organizations,” adds Jennings. “This challenge relates to our mission statement here at CUA, and is a great way to get student groups to connect to the mission statement.”

Both small and large student organizations have played their part in the challenge. Pax Christi, one of the smaller organizations on campus, has managed to do 530 hours so far towards the challenge. The Knights of Columbus, which is one of the larger student organizations, has contributed 2,453 hours.

Gratia Plena, a women’s organization that meets weekly for Gospel study, contributed almost 100 hours to the challenge during Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week last November. The group used the Cardinal Service Challenge as an opportunity to spread awareness about hunger and homelessness. Some of the group’s hands-on activities included packing trail mix bags for homeless food runs and making blankets for the homeless.

“We are always excited to support our fellow classmates and other student organizations. We also encourage our members to participate and lead service events individually throughout the year,” says junior Teresa Vyhanek, who served as president of Gratia Plena in 2011.

Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed fraternity dedicated to leadership and service, ran several blood drives in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center.

“The bulk of the hours we contributed to the Cardinal Service Challenge came from the blood drives we ran last semester and this semester. They are typically 12 hours long and all members help organize and run the drives as a group,” says junior Brittany Lightfoot-Benjamin, Alpha Phi Omega’s president.

“The student organizations stopped looking at service as a chore and started looking at it as something fun to do as a group and a bonding experience,” says Steve Kreider, program coordinator for the Office of Campus Activities.