VILLANOVA, Pa. – More than 5,000 Villanova students, faculty, staff, alumni and their families will come together on Saturday, Sept. 23, to perform service in partnership with local organizations and neighborhood agencies in celebration of the 12th 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 was an initiative started by Villanova’s President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, upon his inauguration in 2006. It 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.
“At Villanova, we seek to ignite the heart, inspire the mind and illuminate the spirit in every action we undertake. One of the most powerful and visible ways our University brings these values to life is through the annual St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service,” said the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President. “It’s an inspiring experience that allows Villanovans to share their time and talents with communities in need.”
Villanovans provide nearly 250,000 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.
"Service has proven transformative for me and countless other Villanova students,” said Brian Fox, ’18 VSB, student chair of the Day of Service. “It is deeply rewarding to see how great an impact the Villanova community makes on this one day, which also creates opportunities for service throughout the year.”
The 2017 St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 19 with the annual St. Thomas of Villanova Lecture, which is free and open to the public. Held at 7 p.m. in the Villanova Room of the Connelly Center on the University’s main campus, the lecture will feature author Eboo Patel, whose book “Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation” is the 2017-18 selection of the University’s One Book Villanova community reading program. The book describes Patel’s path of spiritual exploration of Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and the Catholic Worker Movement as he comes to embrace the positive values of religious pluralism. Patel, who served as a member of President Barack Obama’s inaugural Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood partnerships, founded the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) in 2002 to promote interfaith engagement and shared service as an alternative to radicalism and religious violence.
The St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration continues Thursday, Sept. 21 with Donation Nation, a community collection day providing the opportunity for Villanova students, faculty and staff to assist organizations that are partners for the Day of Service with their efforts to address critical needs in the community. The donation of items such as canned and dry goods, school supplies and educational materials, and toiletries and baby supplies will be delivered on Saturday as part of the Day of Service.
This year’s St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration also includes “1842 Day,” Villanova's first-ever day of giving. This initiative—named its honor of the University’s 175th anniversary and the year Villanova was founded—will give alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff and friends the opportunity to show pride and gratitude for the impact Villanova has had on each of them, in the community and around the world. Individuals can make a gift of any size to the designation of their choice, helping the University reach its goal of 1,842 donors in 1,842 minutes.
For more information regarding the 2017 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. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit www.villanova.edu.