Student volunteer opportunities: getting involved on campus and locally

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Caroline Sullivan / The Bucknellian

Connor Bennett, Contributing Writer

Many clubs and organizations on campus contribute to active service work that benefits Bucknell, Lewisburg and other surrounding towns and communities. 

The volunteer spirit of students reflects Bucknell’s mission statement that “students serve the common good and to promote justice in ways sensitive to the moral and ethical dimensions of life.” 

Many of the different service opportunities are looking for more student volunteers. For more information on volunteer work, students can reach out to the Director for Community Service Lynn Pierson. Engaged Bucknell has also been created to notify students of different types of volunteer work through their website

Lewisburg Community Garden

The Lewisburg Community Garden is a joint project between the town of Lewisburg and Bucknell. The Community Garden is located on the intersection of North Water Street and St. Anthony Street. 

Since 2012, the joint project has resulted in thousands of pounds of food produced for donation. Bucknell students were able to produce 3,800 pounds of food that was then donated to local food banks and communities in 2017. 

Bucknell University Farm

The Bucknell University Farm was built on the success of the Community Garden. Established in 2018, the farm helps to address the problem of food insecurity by growing organic produce for the community, and supplying the Bucknell student food pantry. 

Many students volunteer at the farm for class requirements but find the work so fulfilling that they come back to volunteer with enthusiasm. 

“I started volunteering at the farm as a junior due to a class requirement, however, I have continued to work at the farm because I feel doing so has been one of the more genuine experiences I have had to have at my time here,” TJ Killian ’23 said. “Working at the Bucknell farm gives me time to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life at Bucknell and just be with my thoughts. I love going to Bucknell because of the diverse and unique experiences undergraduate students have here, and I think that the Bucknell farm is a perfect example of that.” 

The farm is located on the hill above the South Campus Senior apartments. For more information about volunteering on the farm reach out to Jen Schneidman Partica.

Greek Life Philanthropy

Greek life at Bucknell makes up 37.9 percent of the student population. Each Greek life organization has a specific philanthropy mission or collaboration that is important to their chapter. The organizations work to raise money through many different activities on campus throughout the semester. Philanthropy chairs of Delta Gamma, Alpha Chi Omega and Sigma Chi chapters were able to share their chapters values pertaining to volunteer work with The Bucknellian.

The philanthropy organization that the sisters of AXO collaborate with is Transitions, which is a crisis center that provides advocacy, empowerment and education to end the patterns of domestic abuse and violence. 

“We are very passionate about working directly with our local Lewisburg women’s shelter, Transitions of Pennsylvania,” Philanthropy Chair for AXO Emilie Tristano ’24 said. “We work very closely with Lisa Eroh, the director of Transitions on various fundraisers, educational opportunities, and outreach programs to provide care and services to survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault.” 

The willingness to get engaged and volunteer is also reflected by other sororities at Bucknell. 

Delta Gamma’s national philanthropy is Service for Sight and they work locally in support of that initiative and to raise money for the organization. 

“Ever since highschool I have always had a passion for volunteering,” Victoria Hall ’24, a frequent volunteer in the Lewisburg community and member of Delta Gamma, said. “It is how I gained some of my closest friends and learned some of the most important life lessons. Coming to college I wanted to continue my enthusiasm for helping others.”

Hall volunteers at other places in Lewisburg as well, one of her favorites being Elmcroft — a local senior living community. 

“A special activity I do there is paint the women’s nails and play board games with them. Being able to have conversations with them and learn about their history is something that has become very special to me,” Hall said. 

Her devotion to volunteering is what led her to become the head of philanthropy for her sorority. 

“This experience has enabled me and my sisters to become more evolved in the Bucknell community. Volunteering has become a large part of my life and I think it’s an activity that can be really enjoyable for anyone,” Hall said. 

Fraternities are also involved in volunteer work.

The philanthropy of Sigma Chi is the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, which aids in the research and treatment of cancer. 

Through a week-long event called Derby Days, the brothers of Sigma Chi engage in events with sorority members to raise money for the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. This year in particular was successful, with Sigma Chi raising more than $110,000 for the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. 

“I think Derby Days really captures the attention of the entire Bucknell community,” Nicholas Sperduto ’24, philanthropy chair of Sigma Chi, said. “It is a full week of fun through competition and games, but more importantly it is a time to reflect and support all of those people who have been impacted by cancer. As a chapter we definitely aim to raise as much money as possible, but I think the ultimate goal is to spread awareness, be part of a force for good, and remind people that they are not alone in the fight.” 

These three Greek life organizations are just a few examples of the philanthropic and volunteer work that fraternities and sororities do on campus 

Snack Packs

The Snack Pack program provides twice a month brown bag meals to approximately 250 children in the Lewisburg area. 

The goal of this project is to provide quick and easy meals to students that are of lower income in the Lewisburg school systems. Student volunteers along with Bucknell alumni assist in the distribution of these bags and allow for the program to run smoothly. 

Assistant Director of Community Sarah Farbo said the most crucial donations for the program are, “gift cards to Giant, Weis, Amazon, etc. so that more nutritious food can be purchased for the bags.” 

Snack Packs is always looking for more volunteers and donations — interested students should reach out to Sarah Farbo ([email protected]) with any questions.

Evangelical Community Hospital

Located in Lewisburg, Evangelical Community Hospital has served student health needs with professional care since it opened in 1953. 

Many students volunteer at the hospital and it is a great experience in particular for students pursuing HealthCare related fields. 

“In high school and at home I have always participated in volunteer work especially when it relates to plans for my future,” Ally Neuendorff ’24 said. “At school for about almost a year I have volunteered weekly at Evangelical Community Hospital in the emergency department. While I enjoy being able to give back in my free time, I am thankful that at the same time with my plans of going to med school it is in an environment that gives me exposure to patient interaction and a form of real world experience.”

Ally is just one of the many students who enjoy giving back to the hospital that serves their college community.

Alumni Volunteer Memories

Speaking with Alumni, many reflected on their time at Bucknell and in particular the volunteer work they did. 

 “Looking back, the service opportunities I did take at Bucknell were some of my proudest moments at the school, and I regret not doing more of them,” Patrick Hanley ’22 said. “Service opportunities within the campus community can be found all around, whether that be through classes taken or clubs and groups on campus.”

Hanley said that in-campus volunteering is the most fun, but the most rewarding is found in the Lewisburg community. 

“I recommend any student at Bucknell to get involved in some aspect of volunteering in their time on campus. It builds values and skills while making others smile,” Hanley said.

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