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The Imani Christian Academy in Pittsburgh presented its 2015 Leadership in Service Education Award to Waynesburg University Saturday, Sept. 26, at the 13th annual Imani Gala.

A private school for students in grades pre-K through12, Imani works to transform the lives of inner-city children by improving their literacy and academic skills, teaching self-discipline and developing character.

“It is truly an honor to be recognized by the Imani Christian Academy through this award,” said Waynesburg University President Douglas G. Lee.  “Imani is a shining example of an institution transforming lives.”

Waynesburg University’s tradition of service learning has been established over time, resulting in strong programs that integrate faith and service with academics, preparing students not only for careers but also to be agents of positive change in their communities and the world.

Through partnerships with more than 40 local, regional and international service agencies, Waynesburg University students, faculty and staff contribute at least 50,000 hours of service learning and community/civic engagement hours annually.

Each year, hundreds of students dedicate their fall, winter, spring and summer breaks to service. Through University-organized trips, students travel the world and serve others, utilizing skills they have gained within their classes.

For more than a decade, students have been volunteering at The Pittsburgh Project (TPP). Assisting Pittsburgh homeowners with home improvements and volunteering as tutors with an after-school mentoring program, students serve TPP on weekend retreats as well as week-long service experiences. 

Additionally, Waynesburg is one of only 21 Bonner Scholar schools in the country, offering local, regional and international opportunities to touch the lives of others through service. This scholarship program offers financial assistance to selected students with a high level of demonstrated financial need in return for a commitment to service while enrolled at Waynesburg.

The Vira I. Heinz Program for Women in Global Leadership, another unique scholarship opportunity, enables young women to study and serve abroad. Recently, recipients have studied and served on environmental stewardship initiatives in Costa Rica and Australia, instructed English classes in Peru, taught mathematics in Sri Lanka and built clean water wells in India.

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Ashley Wise, Assistant Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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b2ap3_thumbnail_8-24-Freshmen-Service.jpgWaynesburg University’s incoming freshman class participated in a service project at the Pennsylvania State Game Lands Saturday, Aug. 22. CONSOL Energy, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Sherwin Williams and Wayne Lumber sponsored the event.

The approximately 475 volunteers included upperclassmen Bonner Scholars and orientation leaders as well as University faculty and staff who served alongside the freshman class. The Bonner Scholars also honed their leadership skills by leading the freshmen groups.

“Service is in the DNA of Waynesburg University, and this was evident with the class of 2019!” said Kelley Hardie, assistant dean of Student Services at Waynesburg University. “The new students volunteered alongside Wildlife Conservation Officers to perform environmental stewardship. The outcome was remarkable and all service tasks were completed. The officers were extremely proud of our students’ hard work and servant hearts.”

The volunteers focused on revitalizing several cemeteries in the Game Lands. Dating back to the 1880s, the cemeteries were overgrown with brush and were in need of maintenance. In addition to clearing brush, repositioning fallen tombstones, setting posts to mark the cemetery areas and painting fences, the group also built and hung 150 blue bird boxes.

Before heading to the Game Lands, Hardie, Jeremy Febinger, the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s wildlife conservation officer for Greene County, and Michael Merten, president of the Waynesburg University Student Senate, shared words of motivation and prayer with the student audience.

In alignment with the University’s mission of connecting faith, learning and serving, often referred to as connecting the heart, head and hands, the first two days of New Student Orientation Weekend were devoted to faith and learning, with the third focusing on service through the project at the Game Lands.

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Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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This May, 51 Waynesburg University students will spend a portion of their summer break serving at domestic and international sites. University faculty and staff will lead five service trips covering a variety of academic and professional interests.

Students will travel to Mustard Seed Communities in Montego Bay, Jamaica; Rome, Italy; Camp Caribe in Salinas, Puerto Rico; Christ’s College in Taipei, Taiwan; and the Tuba City Boarding school in Tuba City, Ariz.

Mustard Seed Communities – Montego Bay, Jamaica

Fifteen University students will serve with Mustard Seed Communities (MSC) in Montego Bay, Jamaica, from Monday, May 4, to Saturday, May 9. MSC works to provide a caring, dignified living environment for disadvantaged citizens such as disabled persons and abandoned children. Students will work with the organization to complete physical labor tasks and provide companionship for residents of one MSC village.

Russell Schneider, resident director, and Mary Cummings, vice president for Student Services, will lead the trip. Schneider, who has visited the village before, hopes that serving in a culture different than Waynesburg will broaden students’ appreciation for service.

Rome, Italy

From Monday, May 18, to Wednesday, May 27, a group of 11 students will travel to Italy, touring historic and modern sites each day of the trip. They will gather photographs and create other artistic works that capture the essence of Italy. Upon returning to Waynesburg, the students will create an exhibit of their work to share with local elementary and/or high school students.

The exhibit will be displayed from Friday, September 4, through Friday, September 18, at the Artbeat Gallery in downtown Waynesburg.

Andrew Heisey, assistant professor of art, and Dr. Jacquelyn Core, University provost and vice president for academic affairs, will lead the students on the trip.

Camp Caribe – Salinas, Puerto Rico

In the town of Salinas, Puerto Rico, mission-oriented Camp Caribe awaits the arrival of nine Waynesburg University students who will serve there from Monday, May 4, to Monday, May 11. The camp is focused on helping children form a relationship with God. The University students will serve by laying cement and completing other physical tasks at the camp and in the surrounding community, and they will also interact with the camp coordinators and campers.

Dr. James Bush, professor of mathematics, and Maria Shepas, head coach of the women’s lacrosse team, will lead the trip. Bush believes the trip will lead to a heightened appreciation for service for the students participating.

Christ’s College – Taipei, Taiwan

Five Waynesburg University students will serve this summer in Taipei, Taiwan, at Christ’s College from Monday, May 4, to Thursday, May 21. Led by Richard Blake, a librarian and professor at the University, and Sandy Chen-Blake, translator, the group will minister to the Taiwanese at various sites associated with the College in Taipei.

Christ’s College is connected to a home for disabled and disadvantaged children and adults, and the University students plan to serve those persons by sharing faith stories and mission-oriented testimonials. Blake believes exposure to Christians in a foreign country will help the participating students to begin understanding religion in different cultures.

Tuba City Boarding School – Tuba City, Ariz.

Eleven students will travel to Tuba City, Ariz., to serve at the Tuba City Boarding School from Monday, May 4, to Sunday, May 10. The group will tutor Navajo and Hopi children at the school and assist in any housekeeping or administrative tasks needed by the school.

The trip will be led by Frank Pazzynski, associate professor of education, and Adrienne Tharp, coordinator of the Bonner Scholar Program. Pazzynski feels the University students and Native American children will be equally affected by the trip, as students grow in their faith and maturity and the children served will have an opportunity to learn about a culture outside of their own.

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Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor
724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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During Christmas break, 36 Waynesburg University students will travel to different countries to serve others. University faculty and staff will lead three mission service trips covering a variety of academic and professional interests. 

The projects include partnerships with the Mission Academy Ministries in Nassau, Bahamas, a nutritional center in Patzun, Guatemala, and Trans World Radio (TWR) on the island of Bonaire. 

Mission Academy Ministries – Nassau, Bahamas

Nine students from Waynesburg University’s Education Department will travel to Nassau, Bahamas, during their Christmas break for a mission service trip. From Sunday, Jan. 4, to Saturday, Jan. 10, the students will work in conjunction with Mission Academy Ministries to assist in public school classes and build relationships with teachers and students. 

They will also spend time with the children during recess and lunch and can observe in the classrooms. Dr. Julia Bausman and Deana Mack, assistant professors of education at Waynesburg University, will lead the team of students.

Nutritional Center – Patzun, Guatemala

Twenty Waynesburg University students will spend Friday, Jan. 2, to Saturday, Jan. 10, serving at a nutritional center in Patzun, Guatemala. Pat Bristor, associate dean of students at the University, and Laurie Steere, resident director at the University, will lead the team. 

While at the center, students will spend time with the residents, as well as assist with building a cinder block wall around the perimeter of the backyard at the facility.

Trans World Radio – Island of Bonaire

Seven students from the Waynesburg University’s Department of Communication will spend part of their Christmas breaking working with Trans World Radio (TWR), an international broadcast ministry on the  island of Bonaire. The students will spend Friday, Jan. 2, through Sunday, Jan. 11, assisting TWR in creating production schedules, radio lines, videos and promotional materials. 

Beth Merry, instructor of communication at the University; Chad Sherman, assistant professor of communication; Jacquelyn Core, University provost and vice president for academic affairs; and Karen Younger, assistant professor of history, will lead the team of students.

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Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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Twenty Waynesburg University students will spend Friday, Jan. 2, to Saturday, Jan. 10, serving at a nutritional center in Patzun, Guatemala. Pat Bristor, associate dean of students at the University, and Laurie Steere, resident director at the University, will lead the team. While at the center, students will spend time with the residents, as well as assist with building a cinder block wall around the perimeter of the backyard at the facility. 

Two Waynesburg University students who have participated in the trip in past years chose to book flights for Saturday, Dec. 20, so they would have extra time with the children. These students will spend their entire Christmas break in Guatemala. 

Kyle Digiandomenico, senior psychology major from Martins Ferry, Ohio (Bridgeport High School); and Emily Nowakowski, sophomore nursing major from Bridgeport, Ohio (Bridgeport High School) will travel to Guatemala early. 

According to Bristor, she and the students are most excited to see the children at the center.

“I have been going for years and it is exciting to get off the bus to children cheering your name,” said Bristor. “However, it is also very sad that the majority of the children are the same children as when I first went there.”

Additional students participating in the trip include:

•Sheleena Adams, junior criminal justice major from Cranberry, Pa. (Keystone Junior-Senior High School)

•Anna Artkowsky, sophomore sports broadcasting/sports information major from Waynesburg, Pa. (Waynesburg Central High School)

•Rebekah Clendaniel, junior criminal justice major from Paxinos, Pa. (Meadowbrook Christian School)

•Heidi Dains, sophomore business management major from Clarksville, Pa. (Jefferson Morgan High School)

•Joshuah Dains, senior business management major from Clarksville, Pa. (Jefferson Morgan High School)

•Chelsea Dicks, senior journalism major from Jefferson, Pa. (Jefferson Morgan High School)

•Sara Faiad, senior psychology major from South Fork, Pa. (Forest Hills High School)

•Alyssa Fratto, sophomore engineering major from Melcroft, Pa. (Connellsville Area Senior High School)

•Amelia Graves, sophomore international business major from West Falls, N.Y. (Orchard Park High School)

•MacKenzie Hammer, junior chemistry major from McKees Rocks, Pa. (Montour High School)

•Rebekah Hotek, senior exercise science major from Front Royal, Va. (Home School)

•Sarah Kirk, junior nursing major from Valencia, Pa. (Plum Senior High School)

•Kendle Parsons, senior psychology major from Brownsville, Pa. (Brownsville Area Senior High School)

•Cullin Piatt, sophomore early childhood education (special education) major from Pittsburgh, Pa. (Mount Lebanon High School)

•Gracious Shavers, senior human services major from Ginowan City, Japan (Zion Christian Academy)

•Whitney Thomas, junior criminal justice major from Meyersdale, Pa. (Meyersdale Area High School)

•Julie Wise, senior criminal justice major from Fowler, Ohio (Mathews High School)

•Kaitlyn Wood, junior sociology major from Honey Brook, Pa. (Pennsylvania Home Schoolers)

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Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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