Gannon University students, staff and faculty came together Saturday to participate in Gannon’s Invitation to Volunteer Everywhere, more commonly known as GIVE Day.
The Hammermill Center was bustling with activity, as volunteers gathered to launch the annual GIVE Day festivities.
With a line out the door and few available seats to find, freshman Kamryn McCullum remarked, “I never thought I’d see so many people in one place.”
As the flurry of check-ins, T-shirt distribution and seat finding stuttered to a halt, the debriefing began just before the predetermined groups headed off to their specific sites and activities of service.
Some students journeyed off campus to locations like Presque Isle and Erie’s neighboring creeks to extract unwanted materials from the beaches and creek beds.
“It’s upsetting how much trash we found because it proved how little many people care about our planet,” freshman Jenna Sins said.
Though, seeing the sites become trash-free at the helping hands of the Gannon family did lift spirits in the end.
Another group journeyed to the Goodwill Garden to dig holes for the newest fig tree additions.
“While the digging was laborious, I know the payoff is completely worth it,” said Honors student Soleil Rosenzweig.
Other groups worked to clean up around the local churches within the Gannon neighborhood, hang flyers on doors and clean out gutters, all in the name of lending a hand to the community around them.
So, what exactly is GIVE Day? The acronym itself stands for Gannon’s Invitation to Volunteer Everywhere. It’s an event that has transpired and transformed Gannon students and faculty for 22 years.
This year over 1,000 volunteers participated in giving back to the Erie community.
But what does GIVE Day mean to its students?
“It’s a day we all come together as one family to give back to our community,” Natalee Stinebiser said.
Another student, Olivia Kelly, added, “GIVE Day is an amazing opportunity for Gannon students of all backgrounds and personalities to come together for a common goal. As a freshman, I love getting to see each class collaborate to make a difference in our community.”
Both of these sentiments boil down to the same thing: ‘GIVE’ing back.
This action reflects directly on the roots of who we are as individuals and perpetuates our continual reflection on the world around us.
But, as Becky Perry, director of the Center for Social Concerns, put it, “GIVE Day is more than just one day.”
This event is just the beginning step for many in taking action within their communities both as Gannon students and as human beings. Here’s to one step down, hundreds more to go.