One day after they moved into residence halls, more than 400 Neumann University first-year students flooded local organizations, schools, and charities to provide a morning of service to the community.
At 8:30 a.m. on Friday, August 26, students packed the Bruder Gymnasium to learn their destinations, meet their faculty/staff facilitators, and load buses and vans for a day of helping worthy causes.
They tackled projects like cleaning, painting and yard work for All Riders Up, the Bernadine Center, Cradles to Crayons, Drexel Neumann Academy, Pathways PA, Red Hill Farm, Mt. Hope Methodist Church, and 10 other local organizations and nonprofits.
The morning of service is part of Welcome Weekend for both commuters and residents at Neumann. The activity is in keeping with the university’s Franciscan tradition, which emphasizes service to others. Part of the university’s mission statement, in fact, is that “knowledge is a gift to be used in the service of others.”
“St. Francis is attributed to saying, ‘Preach the Gospel always. If necessary, use words.’ This statement speaks to the strength and value of our action as a way of communicating God’s love,” explains Sr. Kathy Dougherty, OSF, vice president for mission and ministry and student affairs. “As a Catholic university in the Franciscan tradition, we spread the love of God through serving our brothers and sisters. The day of service for new students is essential. It reflects our belief that all is a gift from God and our gifts are intended to be used for the good of all.”
When the new students returned to campus, they attended their first college class, The Neumann Experience (INT 101), and discussed the importance of volunteerism and community service.
INT 101 is a required, one-credit course that explores the meaning of learning and education in the context of Neumann’s philosophy and mission. Course content focuses on self-motivated learning, values clarification, critical thinking, student-faculty communication, time management, and learning techniques.