VILLANOVA, Pa. – Service is at the core of Villanova University’s ethos, 365 days a year. But, on one particular day each September the University community comes out in force, partnering with local service organizations and neighborhood agencies throughout the Greater Philadelphia region to celebrate its St. Thomas of Villanova “Day of Service.” One of the largest single-day service events in the region, the St. Thomas Day of Villanova Celebration honors the University’s patron saint – the 16th century Augustinian bishop of Valencia, Spain – known for his great charity to the poor and marginalized. On Saturday, Sept. 28, thousands of students, faculty, staff, alumni and their families are expected to participate in the eighth-annual event, fanning out to more than 150 sites to pitch in on projects ranging from neighborhood cleanups and painting to working on an urban farm and creating a rain garden.
“We are grateful to have the opportunity each year on the St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service to join together with our community partners as one unified force devoted to helping our neighbors in need in the Greater Philadelphia region do the work they need to do,” said the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President. “Participating in this great event expands and strengthens our community partnerships and reinforces Villanova’s commitment to service. It is a day that Villanova students, faculty, staff and alumni look forward to as an energizing starting point for another year of volunteerism.”
“The Day of Service provides Villanovans with a great opportunity to embrace the Catholic roots and Augustinian principles that our University was founded upon,” Dillon Insalaco, student chair of the Day of Service said. “In joining together and giving of their time as one dedicated unit, members of the Villanova community are able to contribute to a diverse group of service sites that promote a multitude of causes.”
The St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service is just one of many ways that Villanovans reach out to meet the needs of communities near and far. Villanovans provide more than 220,000 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 projects.
This year’s St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration begins Thursday, Sept. 26 with the annual St. Thomas of Villanova Lecture which examines an important issue in today’s society from the Catholic Social Teaching perspective. The 2013 lecture features Chris Mburu, head of the UN Human Rights Agency’s anti-discrimination section, based in Geneva, Switzerland. In his work at the UN, Mburu conducts research on discrimination and intolerance that could result in the commission of serious crimes. His presentation, titled, “A Small Act: How One Small Deed Can Make a World of Difference,” will be held at 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 23 in the Villanova Room of the Connelly Center. The event is free and open to the public.
The celebration continues Friday, Sept. 27 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, and baby supplies will be delivered the following day 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, 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 18 Main Line locations, as well as 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 2013 St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration, visit: www.villanova.edu/stvc
MEDIA: For additional information on the 2013 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.