Gannon’s Good for U initiative is all about helping members of the Gannon community including students, faculty and staff to improve the wellness of others through the multitude of service opportunities available around the campus.
Service opportunities are abundant on campus, from involvement with Campus Ministry to the Center for Social Concerns. There are big events on campus such as GIVE Day at the beginning of the school year in September and the upcoming Day of Caring happening in April.
As service is a large part of the core of Gannon University, it becomes a part of the individual’s wellness journey, giving mind, body and soul to the service of others by putting a smile on someone else’s face that needs it.
Community Corps is another pathway that a student can take to get involved with the Erie community through two major options: Table Corps or Tutor/Mentor Corps.
Table Corps allows individuals help the members of Erie community to allay hunger. While, a Tutor or Mentor Corps member will help students in local schools.
These options create a bond and long-term relationship with the community.
On March 14, a STEM Family Game Night hosted at Strong Vincent Middle School featured game stations and prizes for the middle school students.
Service trips are also another option on campus to get involved. Known more commonly as Alternative Break Service Trips (ABSTs), these offer an opportunity for students to travel to places they may have never seen and give back to a community in need.
The week of spring break, many students and faculty went on these trips to places such as Mexico, Guatemala, Detroit, Ruskin and the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona, just to name a few.
These trips are a break from the regular mold of service to your community because students and faculty are helping people not in their local community but people in their global community.
Trips like these are not only just for the service but the experience of service in another place that students and faculty may not be familiar with and making new memories.
Each trip has its own way of serving a specific community. The trip to L’Arche Ontario, for example, focused “on dignity for and community building with individuals with and without disabilities.”
Some faculty members facilitated their first ABSTs and were excited to seek out the new adventure in service.
Sam Hyman, director of the Waldron Campus Center, went on the trip to San Lucas, Guatemala.
“This ABST was being a part of a group of people who didn’t know each other very well and had little history together prior to this trip, become friends through a shared experience in service to others,” he said. “It was also a wonderful experience being immersed in a very different culture and getting to know a place very different from home.”
But for those students who were returning and now leading a trip of their own, it’s the best experience. Lydia Fennessy, a junior physician assistant major, went to Merida, Mexico, last spring and decided to lead the trip to Merida this year. She said that being a leader for an ABST is a whole different experience.
“The best part of leading the ABST to Merida was getting to watch my group grow together through the ABST experience,” she said. “I loved helping my group bond through pre-trip meetings and then taking that group dynamic to the next level through our trip. I hope that anyone who feels like they want to get involved with the community — whether that be locally, domestically or globally — will consider applying for an ABST next year.”
Most of the service opportunities can be found on EngageU or at https://gannonserves.wordpress.com.