GIVE Day unites Gannon community


Randall Sutter, Staff Writer

With the opening rally taking place at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Hammermill Center, Gannon University was ecstatic to kick off its annual GIVE Day.

GIVE Day is a proud, annual Gannon tradition that brings together the diverse Gannon community on campus and the larger Gannon family within the Erie and Ruskin communities.

A quintessential part of being a Gannon student is knowing that the university’s family does not end in the classroom. That is why 1,100 Gannon volunteers in the Erie area and 137 Ruskin campus volunteers surged across 50 services sites with over 50 student organizations being represented.

GIVE Day has a 24-year history of supporting proud pillars of community such as the Sisters of St. Joseph, Our West Bayfront, Asbury Woods, the Erie Zoo and the Blasco Library.

Levi Nugent, a senior marine biology major, spent GIVE Day with his Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity brothers at the Blasco Library Book Drive.

“I think GIVE Day is a wonderful way for Gannon to reach out to the local community by offering students the opportunity to serve the community,” Nugent said.

GIVE Day functions as a reminder to students and faculty alike of the importance of service to the greater Catholic social teachings the university strives to embraceevery year.

James Neumann, a junior public service and global affairs major, also participated in GIVE Day.

“Every year for GIVE Day students go all over Erie with the mission of serving others,” said Neumann, Gannon’s Model United Nations’ secretary general and media coordinator for the School of Public Service and Global Affairs.

Neumann also helped with the book drive at the Blasco Library.

“It is a really rewarding experience that gives us the opportunity to serve the community with the great group of people who organize the book drive every year: The Friends of The Library,” Neumann said.

Neumann said as part of the fraternity’s service, members help library staff unload boxes and sort through all the books they receive before sending them to a warehouse where they also help unload the books.

“I think it is a really rewarding experience because we get to help out a local organization that is making strides to increase Erie’s literacy and enjoyment of books,” Neumann said.

This year’s GIVE Day was scheduled to coincide with the International Coastal Cleanup, meant to assist coastal regions with debris cleanup. While the Erie campus lacks ocean shores, it certainly had plenty of lake shores to select from. Several groups attended service events at both Presque Isle State Park and the Erie Bluffs State Park in recognition of the movement.

Perhaps even more ecstatic than the student body was the Gannon faculty. Many faculty members were relieved with the return to normal: the opening rally, the free T-shirt and free breakfast food. However, GIVE Day 2021 was less attended than GIVE Day 2020, according to Sara Nesbitt, program coordinator for the Center for Social Concerns and Global Exploration.

Nesbitt said that this is likely because GIVE Day 2020 was one of the few in-person events held during the fall of 2020 and students were excited to be face-to-face for an event. The high participation rate included nearly the entire student body.

Another major contributing factor to this near full participation was that 2020marked the first time all sports teams were required to partake in the event. Typically, workouts, training sessions, games, or other such things conflict with the GIVE Day schedule and the athletes are excused from the festivities to hone their craft, but most of the fall sports last year were either canceled or postponed.