GIVE Day to occur with tight restrictions


Faith Wilson, Staff Writer

Gannon University students will be going out into the community this weekend to participate in annual GIVE Day, but with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many are curious to know what the event will look like this year and how Gannon plans to keep its students and the community safe.

GIVE Day, or Gannon’s Invitation to Volunteer Everywhere, is an annual campus- and community-wide volunteer event where students and faculty are able to volunteer three hours on a Saturday morning to give back to their community.

Sara Nesbitt, program coordinator and research assistant for the Center for Social Concerns and Global Exploration and the lead organizer for GIVE Day, gave some insight into what the event will look like, and how Gannon plans to keep the event as safe as possible for students and the community.

“I can assure you the last thing I want is for GIVE Day to become a super-spreader event,” Nesbit said.

Some of the changes that will be noticeable with the event this year is that there will no longer be a GIVE Day rally in the Hammermill Center.

On top of missing the rally, the traditional sites have changed.

Some of the changes include outdoor site capacity being reduced to allow for social distancing and the number of indoor site locations have been cut to only two with both now at half capacity. This means participants will be seeing more small groups than previous years.

Site coordinators have guaranteed that there will be hand sanitizer or a hand washing station at each location.

Regular guidelines that are already in place, such as face mask requirements and social distancing of at least six feet, will be enforced by the site ambassadors.

Anyone participating must pass their wellness screening and anyone riding on buses will have temperature checks before they are allowed to board.

When it comes to transportation to the sites, most students will be walking. Any students driving or carpooling are asked to keep their masks on and windows down. The capacity on buses has been reduced to allow students to social distance.

Kimberly Shepler, a sophomore psychology major and competitive dancer, is excited to get back out into the community and help make a difference. Last year, she and other dancers picked up trash along Presque Isle.

Shepler believes that these guidelines and precautions are going to be very effective as long as everyone follows them.

“I think that it will definitely be a different experience, but it will still be worth it in the end to know that we all helped out in a way that the community is grateful for,” said Shepler.

Other students, like Shepler, are excited to participate this year.

Daniel Baker, a junior social work and foreign language major, said that he also plans to volunteer and is eager to get back out and help serve the Erie.

“I plan on participating because I trust those I plan to serve with, as well as the procedures we are taking to keep ourselves safe,” Baker said.

“Of course there is cause for concern due to larger groups; however, I feel that if people act rationally and look out for signs of risk, we can still give back to our community safely and in true Gannon spirit.”

While some students are excited to return to a semblance of normalcy and participate this year, others are worried that this event might be “the thing that causes an outbreak on campus,” said Dawson Snowberger, a sophomore pre-medicine major.

“Students will be surrounded by students who are not usually in their pods, which could be an issue,” Snowberger said. “But it is really up to the students to follow the guidelines set and be responsible with social distancing as much as possible.”

Even with the pandemic, there is still lots of work to be done in the community and Gannon is ready to tackle it all Saturday.


[email protected]