Alvernia begins year with 600+ person service event

Alvernia University continues a tradition of beginning an academic year through service to the community with over 600 students, faculty and staff providing service at over 15 locations throughout Berks County.

“There is nothing more truly Alvernian than our commitment to community engagement,” said Alvernia University President Glynis A. Fitzgerald, Ph.D. “Having new students, faculty and staff working side-by-side with the returning members of our campus community is a special way to reaffirm our shared core values and the perfect way to enter a new academic year.”

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The university partnered with Reading School District, Reading Public Works, Berks County Parks Department and Berks Nature as part of this year’s Orientation Day of Service. This marks the first large-scale Orientation Day of Service since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Today we worked together throughout the Reading community to serve among our neighbors to help prepare school classrooms for children, clean and beautify the streets and parks around and within the 18th Ward where Alvernia resides and prepare for a bountiful fall harvest at our very own Bog Turtle Creek Farm among many other meaningful projects,” said Alyssa Slade, senior director for the Holleran Center for Community & Global Engagement. “We were ecstatic to bring back this Alvernia tradition to kickoff the new year.”

A tradition that dates back to the 1990s, Alvernia organizes four days of service throughout the year when the university connects with the community on multiple service projects. The other three days are Feast of St. Francis Day in October, Martin Luther King Jr. Day in February and Earth Day in April.

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“I was able to come out here with a bunch of my friends on the baseball team and its been a good bonding experience,” said Alvernia first-year student Thomas Chapman, who spent Saturday morning pulling weeds and overhauling the greenhouse at the university’s Bog Turtle Creek Farm. “Being able to help the community that gave me this opportunity in the first place is a blessing. Thank you to the farm for having us out and thank you to everyone else who is helping.”

Community service has its roots deeply embedded in the foundation of Alvernia University and is central to the mission of our Catholic, Franciscan institution. All Alvernia students must perform a minimum of 40 hours of community service before being certified for graduation, although most perform above and beyond this requirement.

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