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Adrienne Tharp, coordinator of the Bonner Scholar Program at Waynesburg University, will lead a team of eight University students to serve in Greene County during the students’ fall break. The students will serve Sunday, Oct. 11, through Friday, Oct. 16.

While serving, the students will assist with building homes in the Greene County area to address substandard housing issues.

Students participating in the trip include:

  • Gordan Bieber, senior psychology major from Bulter (Slippery Rock Area High School)
  • Jenna Gearhart, freshman forensic science major from Bel Air, Md. (Bel Air High School)
  • Briana Hedlund, freshman English literature major from Casper, Wyo. (Kelly Walsh High School)
  • Zachary Payne, junior accounting major from Irwin (Norwin High School)
  • Jessica Rains, senior criminal justice major from Hilliard, Ohio (Hilliard Bradley High School)
  • Keri Renzler, freshman athletic training major from Bridgeport, Ohio (Bridgeport High School)
  • John Wicker, junior marketing major from Ambridge (Eden Christian Academy)
  • Patience Yobp, freshman criminal justice administration major from Valencia (Mars Area High School)

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Ashley Wise, Assistant Director of University Relations

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Eight students, led by Kelley Hardie, assistant dean of students at Waynesburg University, will serve the Greene County community during their fall break. The Greene County Immersion Service Trip will run from Sunday, Oct. 11, through Saturday, Oct. 17.

The week will provide students with the opportunity to participate in an assortment of service activities in Greene County and will enhance the service relationships between the students and the local community.

Students will serve a variety of Greene County nonprofit organizations such as the Bowlby Library, Bridge Street Commons, Cornerstone Bible Ministry Camp, Greene County Corner Cupboard Food Bank, the Greene County Historical Society, Habitat for Humanity, Humane Society, St. Ann’s Soup Kitchen and WWJD Center.

Students participating in the trip include:

  • Michelle Lemons, senior biblical and ministry studies major from Marianna (Trinity High School)
  • Danielle Merideth, sophomore psychology major from Pittsburgh (City Charter High School)
  • Austin Orth, senior computer science major from Meyersdale (Lighthouse Christian Academy)
  • Samantha Peer, senior public relations major from Belle Vernon (Belle Vernon Area High School)
  • Ryan Schwertfeger, junior communication (electronic media) major from Oakland, N.J. (Indian Hills High School)
  • Brenden Shanks, freshman with an undecided major from Pittsburgh (Imani Christian Academy)
  • Joshua Stewart, freshman early childhood education major from Preston, Md. (Colonel Richardson High School)
  • Pedro Torrez, senior finance major from Chapel Hill, N.C. (Saint Thomas More Academy)

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Ashley Wise, Assistant Director of University Relations

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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

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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

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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
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