More than 5,000 Villanova students, faculty, staff, alumni and their families will come together on Saturday, Sept. 15 to perform service in partnership with local organizations and neighborhood agencies in celebration of the 13th annual St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service. Volunteers will visit more than 130 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.
“As Villanovans, we believe that the best way to improve our own life is to improve the lives of others,” said the Rev. Donohue. “The annual St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service is an opportunity for us to put our Augustinian values into action by sharing our time and talents with the greater community. Not only are the communities we serve transformed, but also all those who participate. This one day is a powerful example of what the Villanova community can achieve when it comes together to serve the greater good.”
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.
“We could not be more excited about the 2018 St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service. This year, in addition to strong participation from our on-campus community, dozens of alumni clubs across the country are also participating, making this a truly community-wide effort,” said Michelle Milone ’19, student co-chair of the Day of Service.
“Our committee has been working tirelessly toward this day for the past few months, and we cannot wait to see Villanovans come together to make an impact and ignite change,” student co-chair Collin Brunnock ’20 added.
The 2018 St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration will begin on Friday, Sept. 14 with the annual St. Thomas of Villanova Lecture, which is free and open to the public. Held at 4 p.m. in the Villanova Room of the Connelly Center on the University’s main campus, the lecture will feature author Bryan Stevenson, whose book “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” is the 2018-19 selection of the University’s One Book Villanova community reading program. Stevenson is the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative and a professor of law at New York University School of Law. He has received national recognition for his efforts to challenge bias in the judicial system against the poor and people of color.
The St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration also includes Donation Nation, a community collection 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, as well as toiletries and baby supplies will be delivered as part of the Day of Service.
For more information regarding the 2018 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 sare 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 M. Louise Fitzpatrick 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.