Susquehanna in the Community
Approximately 65 percent of the student body participated in volunteer service in 2009–10. Students donated nearly 28,000 hours to community, national and international projects. According to calculations used by the Independent Sector, a nonpartisan organization that supports charitable activities, these community service contributions equaled more than $450,000 for the year.
Susquehanna’s Center for Civic Engagement coordinates assistance to more than 90 charitable and civic organizations in the region. National and international projects include hurricane relief in Louisiana, working with the homeless in Washington, D.C., supporting youth in Northern Ireland and medical and construction projects in Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
Numerous organizations on campus complete community service on a regular basis. Each of these organizations has the opportunity to participate in the living and learning communities on campus. This newly restructured program, called Growing Relationships and Opportunities with Theme Housing (GROWTH), allows for students of similar interests to live, learn and often serve in a communal campus residence.
In addition to these programs, fundraising and volunteer activities among Greek members on campus benefit such causes as local child abuse prevention, the Ronald McDonald House at Geisinger Medical Center, Alzheimer’s disease research, multiple sclerosis research, Special Olympics, breast cancer awareness and various environmental preservation and protection projects.
Each year, hundreds of students, faculty and staff join together for a day of volunteer service throughout the central Susquehanna Valley. In August 2010, more than 600 volunteers, including the incoming freshman class, worked at 52 sites in the Susquehanna Valley. Dubbed SU G.I.V.E. (Susquehanna University: Get Into Volunteer Experiences), this annual event, is part of the new student orientation week, introducing first-year students to the Susquehanna University community and its longstanding tradition of service and leadership.
Volunteer sites for SU G.I.V.E. include the following:
- Agapeland Preschool
- American Cancer Society
- Buffalo Valley Lutheran Village
- Campus Garden
- Central Oak Heights
- Christ Community Methodist Church
- Danville Borough, Danville State Hospital
- Dauntless Hook and Ladder
- Shikellamy State Park
- Donald Heiter Community Center
- East Snyder Park
- Evangelical Hospital
- Far Point Animal Rescue
- Geisinger Hospital
- Golden Living Center
- Grayson View Assisted Living
- Haven Ministry
- House of Hope
- Mifflinburg Buggy Museum
- Milton Library
- Mostly Mutts No Kill Dog Shelter
- Northumberland Borough
- Northumberland County Historical Society
- Snyder County Red Cross
- Riverwoods Senior Living Center
- Selinsgrove Area Youth Soccer Organization
- Selinsgrove Restoration Project
- Shamokin Dam Fire Company
- Snyder County Historical Society
- St. Monica’s School
- St. Paul’s United Church of Christ
- SU Health Center
- Sunbury Housing Authority
- Sunbury Salvation Army
- Sunbury YMCA
- SUNCOM Industries
- Susquehanna Children’s Center
- T&D Cats of the World
- The Children’s Choice
- The Refuge
- The Union-Snyder Community Action Agency.
Susquehanna University’s Public Safety Office has a long-standing mutual aid agreement to provide 24-hour assistance to the Selinsgrove Borough Police Department when requested. Similarly, the university and Selinsgrove Area School District have a reciprocal agreement to provide use of their respective facilities to one another without facility charges. Susquehanna University serves as an emergency evacuation site for unpredicted disasters that force local residents from their homes. In addition, the university provides the building site for the Susquehanna Children’s Center, a community childcare facility independently operated by Snyder, Union, Mifflin Child Development Inc.
Susquehanna University also provides annual voluntary contributions to Selinsgrove borough and Dauntless Hook & Ladder Company. For the 2009–10 fiscal year, the university donated $50,000 to the borough and $8,000 to the fire company.
Through a partnership with the Charles B. Degenstein Foundation, Susquehanna University offers mentoring and financial support to regional students and their families called SU4U. Recipients are first-generation college students from households with limited financial resources in Snyder, Union, Northumberland and surrounding counties.
In addition, the Susquehanna University chapter of Habitat for Humanity partners with Union-Snyder Habitat for Humanity to raise money and construct homes for underprivileged families in the area.
The Sigmund Weis School of Business regularly sponsors programs and provides faculty-directed student consulting services to benefit small businesses in the area. Other services of the business school include free tax-filing assistance to elderly residents of Snyder County and SU Enactus outreach programs.
Sterling Communications, the university’s student-run public relations firm, also provides consulting services to area businesses and organizations.
The Department of Modern Languages has a longstanding commitment to providing strong links between the university and the Latino community in this region. The Spanish program’s Latino Initiative is a multifaceted program of outreach activities that have united Latinos and Anglos on and off campus. The program includes the annual Latino Symposium and partnerships with the Selinsgrove, Shikellamy and Milton area school districts that provide placement sites where Susquehanna University students tutor and mentor the area’s growing population of Spanish-speaking school children. The department also partners with nearby high school and college French programs for cultural programs such as the annual French Play. Connections between the German faculty and the region’s Pennsylvania German population are also strong.
Numerous members of Susquehanna’s faculty and staff serve as community leaders. Their leadership roles include seats on the Selinsgrove Borough Council, Selinsgrove Area School District Board of Directors, Selinsgrove Projects Inc., Selinsgrove Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Central Susquehanna Valley, Evangelical Community Hospital Board of Directors, WVIA public broadcasting, Action Health and the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies.
In addition to institutional involvement in the community, the influx of revenue from student spending in the five-county area is estimated at over $7.9 million.
Students and faculty from the university’s Department of Education and other departments provide classroom program assistance and additional outreach activities including the Study Buddy volunteer tutoring program and the Saturday Science program, which provides children in grades K-12 with constructive weekend educational opportunities in the natural sciences at no charge. In the same vein, Susquehanna’s Music Preparatory Program offers reasonably priced preschool through adult music instruction to area residents. Scholarships are made available for low-income individuals.
The Summer SEALS Day Camp is offered through a joint venture with the local Rotary club and Selinsgrove Elementary School, through which Susquehanna education students and staff teach 3rd and 4th graders whose reading or math skills would benefit from an intensive summer program.
In 2009-10 and previous years, Susquehanna’s Science in Motion program regularly sent teachers and vans outfitted with the latest laboratory equipment to area high schools to assist with science instruction. The program also loaned equipment to high school teachers and provided them with on-campus educational opportunities.
Each summer the university sponsors a Kids' College open to students who have completed grades 2-8. These week-long programs are designed to develop students’ creativity, critical thinking and cooperative learning skills through a series of high-interest, complex topics.
The university hosts numerous one-day events for students attending Pennsylvania schools. For example, Susquehanna University serves as the site for the annual Pennsylvania High School Speech League's state tournament and state drama festival, as well as the annual Honors Band Festival for high school students.
Susquehanna’s Institute for Lifelong Learning is designed for local senior residents who appreciate the opportunity to investigate stimulating topics. Participants gather Wednesday afternoons on the first and third weeks of the month for a speaker and luncheon.
Local teachers also attend in-service programs at the university.
Susquehanna University offers a host of cultural activities to the public each year through numerous lectureships, educational series and programs. Most of these events are free of charge. They include the Visiting Writers Series sponsored by The Writers Institute, annual events sponsored by the Arlin M. Adams Center for Law & Society, the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program, the annual Alice Pope Shade Lecture directed by the Chaplain’s Office, the Claritas Distinguished Lecture in the Sciences Series and the Edward S. & A. Rita Schmidt Lectureship in Ethics.
Susquehanna University has been bringing professional music, dance and theatre productions to the central Susquehanna Valley for more than 100 years through the Artist Series and through the Stella Freeman Weis Concert, which is presented to the community at no charge. Tickets for Artist Series events are reasonably priced and discounts are offered to students and senior citizens.
The Lore Degenstein Gallery at Susquehanna University supports the cultural life of central Pennsylvania by displaying numerous art exhibitions each year. These exhibitions and the opening lectures that accompany them are free and open to the public. Moreover, the gallery participates in the educational and research programs of other institutions to establish mutually supportive relationships through the exchange of scholarly inquiry and the development of cooperative projects.