VILLANOVA, Pa. – More than 5,000 Villanova students, faculty, staff, alumni and their families will come together on Saturday, Sept. 24, to perform service in partnership with local organizations and neighborhood agencies in celebration of the 11th annual St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service. Volunteers will visit more than 150 service sites throughout the Greater Philadelphia area, and beyond.
Service is central to Villanova University’s mission and values, with year-round community service activities a hallmark of the Villanova experience. The Day of Service, an initiative started by Villanova’s President the Rev. Peter M Donohue, OSA, PhD upon his inauguration in 2006, is part of the University’s St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration, honoring its patron saint – the 16th century Augustinian bishop of Valencia, Spain – known for his great charity to the poor and marginalized. One of the largest single-day service events in the region, this annual event builds upon the service performed throughout the year by the Villanova community and exists as a unique way to put its Augustinian ideals into action.
“The annual St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service is an opportunity for the Villanova community to reach out to those around us and help them to complete projects for the betterment of their communities,” said the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President. “It is an enriching experience that allows Villanovans to put the Augustinian ideal of caritas (love) into action by donating the time and talents of our community.”
Villanovans provide more than 249,000 hours of service annually in communities locally, regionally and globally. In addition to participating in weekly outreach opportunities at Philadelphia-area social service and charitable organizations, Villanovans participate in a wide variety of long-term mentoring and service-break experiences as well as ongoing Habitat for Humanity home building projects.
“By incorporating our Catholic and Augustinian principles, the Day of Service has made a tremendous impact in the areas surrounding Villanova, “said Ryan Brunnock, student chair of the Day of Service. “The time and energy that the Villanova community gives is a true testament to the University’s exceptional commitment to service.”
The 2016 St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration will begin on Thursday, Sept. 22 with the annual St. Thomas of Villanova Lecture. Held at 7:30 p.m. in the Villanova Room of the Connelly Center on the University’s main campus, the lecture will feature author Elizabeth Kolbert, whose Pulitzer prize-winning book, “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History,” is the 2016-17 selection of the University’s One Book Villanova community reading program. The book, named one of the New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year and a National Book Critic’s Circle Award finalist, makes the claim that Earth is in the midst of a modern, man-made, sixth extinction, by comparing previous mass extinction events with the accelerated, widespread extinctions of the present. The event is free and open to the public.
The St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration continues Friday, Sept. 23 with a Community Collection Day to benefit local community agencies that are partners for the Day of Service. The donation of items such as canned and dry goods, school and arts and crafts supplies, toiletries, paper goods, and baby supplies will be delivered on Saturday as part of the Day of Service.
Day of Service volunteers will depart from The Pavilion on the University’s main campus at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, to work in local neighborhoods, schools, churches, community centers and other service organizations across the Greater Philadelphia Region. Among the more than 150 service sites are 26 Main Line locations, including sites in Radnor Township. In addition, alumni across the country will donate time volunteering in their local areas as part of the Day of Service.
For more information regarding the 2016 St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration, visit: www.villanova.edu/stvc
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 six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit www.villanova.edu.