Villanova University’s Sixth-Annual Day of Service Highlights St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration

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Thousands of Villanovans will join together throughout the Greater Philadelphia region Sept. 24, volunteering at more than 170 service locations – including a Habitat for Humanity “Blitz Build” in Norristown

VILLANOVA, Pa. – The Villanova University community will join together throughout the Greater Philadelphia region Saturday, Sept. 24, in celebration of the University’s sixth-annual St. Thomas of Villanova “Day of Service.”  Groups of students, faculty, staff and alumni, working in partnership with local organizations and neighborhood agencies, will take part in projects ranging from planting trees and cleaning up neighborhoods, to serving meals and packaging food for hunger relief organizations. One of the largest single-day service events in the region, the number of volunteers has grown from 1,000 in 2006 to over 4,000 expected for this year’s Day of Service.

The Day of Service is part of an annual St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration, honoring the University’s patron saint – the 16th-century Augustinian bishop of Valencia, Spain, known for his great charity to the poor and marginalized. The day builds upon the important service performed year ‘round by the University community; Villanovans provide more than 220,000 hours of service annually in communities locally, regionally and globally.

“The Day of Service is about partnering with local agencies and non-profit organizations to meet the needs of the community,” said the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President. “I am particularly proud that for many of the participants – whether students, faculty or staff – this is just the beginning of the service they will perform throughout the year. This is an excellent illustration of just how central service is to the Villanova experience.”

This year’s celebration begins Friday, Sept. 23 with a Community Collection Day to benefit local community agencies that are partners for the Day of Service.  The donation of identified items will be accepted throughout the day in the Villanova Room of The Connelly Center, and delivered the next day as part of the service activities.

Among the more than 170 Day of Service sites throughout the Greater Philadelphia Region are the Overbrook Civic Association, Papa Playground and Recreation Center, and Royal Gardens in Philadelphia, and the Center for Environmental Transformation in Camden (N.J.).  Villanovans will also volunteer time at 10 locations on the Main Line, as well as eight sites in Radnor Township.  Additionally, alumni across the country also donating time in their local areas as part of the Day of Service.

This year’s St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration features a unique “Blitz Build” project with Habitat for Humanity's Montgomery County affiliate. Sponsored by Villanova’s Chapter of Habitat for Humanity (HFH), the University community will help renovate a four-bedroom house in Norristown, Pa., beginning on Sept. 24, and continuing with day-long shifts from Sept. 27-Oct. 1. The Blitz Build marks one more highlight in a 22-year partnership between Villanova and Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County, working towards HFH International’s mission of eliminating poverty-housing through home building, advocacy and education.

For more information regarding the 2011 St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration, visit: www.villanova.edu/stvc

MEDIA: For additional information on the 2011 St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration, including Day of Service sites and details, please contact the Department of Media Relations at (610) 519-5152.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others.  There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.