The New Student Annual Day of Service engages new first year students in service projects in their new community before classes even begin! This past August, 502 students volunteered for a total of 2,026 hours at 24 different service sites in the Philadelphia area. From working at thrift stores and cleaning local parks to packaging meals and creating a garden for senior citizens, students lay foundations for organizations and projects that we support throughout the year.
In October, Arcadia held community drives to collect Ebola medical supplies. The drives, provided much-needed relief to rural regions of West Africa, were a collaboration between the Community Engagement Office and Fodeba Daboh ’11M, a graduate of Arcadia University’s International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program and a native of Sierra Leone. On Feb. 9, donations collected during the drives arrived in Sierra Leone. Daboh presented packages of personal protective equipment to Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Social Welfare.
Hundreds entered Grey Towers Castle to celebrate and enjoy Arcadia’s 21st Annual Empty Bowl Benefit Dinner on Nov. 17. Attendees selected handcrafted ceramic bowls made by Arcadia students, professional potters, and local elementary and high school students, filling them with delicious soups, breads, and desserts donated by local restaurants such as the Allways Cafe, Anne’s Kitchen Table, 211 York, and Panera Bread. The profits raised were donated to two organizations: Interfaith Hospitality Network, a group that operates family shelters in the Philadelphia area, and Heifer International, which works to increase sustainability in rural communities abroad by providing livestock. This year's event raised more than $13,000.
The MLK Day of Service is all about giving back to the community and remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and work. You can volunteer to help with the collection of goods brought in by the community, the collection of eWaste, and shredding documents. The collected goods will go to Habitat for Humanity, Cradles to Crayons, the SPCA, New Life Thrift, Whosoever Thrift, and Lion's Club. E-waste is any type of electronic device that people would otherwise throw out that you can help to dispose of in an ethical way. This opportunity is a wonderful way to be involved and to bring the community closer together.
Community Engagement celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday Grey Towers Castle with Dr. Seuss Day event on Sunday, Feb. 22. Children from the community accompanied by an adult came out to enjoy a fun-filled day of activities including bingo, face painting, button making, obstacle courses, memory games, and freeze dancing. This event was established in memory of Jami Rodriguez, an Arcadia alumna. The event benefits the Jami Rodriguez Scholarship, which recognizes current full-time undergraduates who have made contributions to campus life through dedication to community service.
On our annual Alternative Spring Break, 40 Arcadians traveled to New Iberia, Louisiana from March 15 to March 21. While there, students were able to interact with residents to help build a strong, healthy and prosperous rural community, on top of experiencing the local culture. We worked with the non-profit organization Southern Mutual Help and our projects included hydroponics and construction work. We had a great time getting our hands dirty!