June 08, 2016
Susquehanna University was one of 11 organizations to receive national recognition for its commitment to service at the Make a Difference Day Awards last month in Washington, D.C. The university was honored for its community volunteer efforts.
Bravo's Andy Cohen and NBC Nightly News and Dateline anchor Lester Holt hosted this year's Make a Difference Day Awards at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The annual luncheon honored the leading humanitarian efforts accomplished on Make a Difference Day last October.
Susquehanna was honored for a joint effort between the Johnson Center for Civic Engagement (JCCE) and the campus Greek community. The event, Go M.A.D (Make A Difference), recruited more than 260 students to volunteer at 26 local organizations in October 2015.
"It was exciting to be recognized for the hard work we put in, but it was even more exciting once we were at the awards ceremony," said student organizer Jillian Houser, a senior communications major from Hazleton, Pa. "I really underestimated how big this day was and how important it was that we were representing Susquehanna on a national level."
The JCCE to set up the volunteer locations while Susquehanna's Panhellenic Council, Interfraternity Council and Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity, coordinated attendance and provided buses. On the same day, Susquehanna's chapter of Alpha Phi Omega hosted its annual regional conference, which brought additional volunteers from across the region.
"Volunteers offered need-based assistance for projects ranging from minor landscaping, indoor cleanup, resident interaction, sorting donations and more," Houser said.
The work has helped Susquehanna establish relationships with regional organizations that previously did not exist.
"We helped St. Matthew's Lutheran Church raise almost $5,000 for the local fire company and since then, they have consistently reached out to us for volunteers and invitations to events," Houser said. "And the brothers of Phi Beta Sigma served at Setebaid Services, an organization for diabetes, and have since gone back and volunteered their time there."
The award included a $10,000 cash prize, plans for which have not yet been determined.