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The Pittsburgh Project's purpose to develop servant leaders and uphold the dignity of vulnerable homeowners has much in common with Waynesburg University's mission of educating students through faith, learning and serving.

For several years, Waynesburg University has worked to build a partnership with The Pittsburgh Project, a nonprofit community development organization committed to meeting the needs of the Pittsburgh community. Each semester, Waynesburg students are given the opportunity to serve extensively with The Project in programs such as tutoring, work camps and community garden.

“The Pittsburgh Project is striving to provide for its community through education and home improvements for the elderly, widows and those with disabilities who fall 150 percent below the poverty level,” said Sarah Brandstetter, coordinator of Waynesburg University's Bonner Scholar Program.

This year, five Waynesburg students and a recent alumnus are dedicating their summers to the cause, serving as worksite liaisons from the beginning of June to mid-August.

Those working with The Project include: Kimber Blair, a junior interactive design major from New Castle, Pa; Darartu Boyer, a senior early childhood education major from Columbia, Pa; Ethan Hacker, a junior biblical ministry studies (children and youth) major from Butler, Pa; Blake McCarty, a sophomore business management major from Frisco, Tx; Esteban Saldi a 2012 human services alumnus from La Paz, Bolivia and Steven Snow, a sophomore criminal justice administration major from Butler, Pa.

“I decided to serve at the Pittsburgh Project this summer so that I could minister to people in my home city,” Hacker said. “I like working hands on and doing labor. I am excited to work with the homeowners and other groups to make the city a little bit better every day.”

Dave Calvario, Director of the Center for Service Leadership, and Brandstetter have worked alongside students within The Project throughout the years and regularly encourage students to take the next step when it comes to serving others.

“Sarah Brandstetter and Dave Calvario have always been supportive and influential in my life, and they are the ones who helped me decide to work with The Project my first summer,” Blair said.

Proud to be part of an organization that has genuine interest in the people of Pittsburgh, Blair reflected on how God has opened her eyes to the need in the area.

“There's a need to care for vulnerable, sometimes neglected, homeowners who are unable to continue the upkeep on their own homes,” she said. “There is a need for positive influences in the lives of the youth. There is a need for reconciliation between gangs and other groups.”

With all of the need in the Pittsburgh area, and around the world, there is an even bigger need for individuals like these Waynesburg students and alumnus who have given their summers in order to serve God and make a difference for those around them.


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Waynesburg University's commitment to faith, service and learning is continuously expressed through the passion and dedication of its students, faculty and staff. To honor those that exemplify the spirit of service, Waynesburg's annual service award is bestowed upon an individual and student group that embody what it means to wholeheartedly serve others while making a difference in the world.

Announced during the University's chapel service Tuesday, April 10, Leeann Danley, an elementary and special education major from West Finley, Pa., and Waynesburg University's student chapter of Colleges Against Cancer were named the 2012 recipients of the award.

Danley has served with a number of organizations and ministries including the Waynesburg Senior Center and Tuesday night dinners at St. Anns, among others. She has participated in several mission trips including an extended trip to El Centro Nutricional y Hogar de Niños in Guatemala over Christmas and New Year's last December.

Calling the award a blessing, Danley believes her service experiences at Waynesburg have given her an opportunity to give thanks to God “for giving her the gifts and time to serve His people in Greene County and in other parts of the world.”

“The award is more than a piece of wood to hang on the wall; it symbolizes the many men and women who did more than just receive a classroom education at this University,” she said. “They selflessly dedicated and invested themselves in the lives of others. They learned about a need, and used their time and abilities to make changes happen.”

Danley is one of the many students profoundly affected by the ways in which Waynesburg University instills its mission in its students.

“Over the past four years, I have been one of the torchbearers who has carried and shared the University's deeply-rooted commitment to faith, serving and learning,” she said.

Other individual nominees for the award included Andrew Dennis, a senior business management major from McKeesport, Pa.; Kaitlyn Karan, a senior nursing major from Sarver, Pa.; Jessica Malingowski, a senior forensic accounting major from Finleyville, Pa.; Sarah Markwardt, a senior biblical ministries and international studies major from Uniontown, Pa.; and Mary Sallach, a junior athletic training major from Erie, Pa.

Colleges Against Cancer, led by Kelley Hardie, assistant director of student activities, received the 2012 Harry E. Gardner club or organization award. Kaitlyn Karan, president of CAC, accepted the award.

Since 2007, the organization has devoted itself to raising money and awareness for the American Cancer Society. In addition to the Gardner Award, the chapter was recently named the Outstanding Organization of the Year for Greene County by the American Cancer Society.

Most notably, CAC has raised more than $60,000 in five years through its annual Mini-Relay for Life. This spring, the chapter raised more than $23,000 through the University's 5th Annual Mini-Relay. An estimated 600 people participated in the event.

Other group nominees for the award included the American Chemical Society and the EcoStewards.


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Afterschool Champions are selected based on dedication, commitment and passion for creating and supporting high quality extracurricular activities for the youth in the local community. Sarah Brandstetter, coordinator of the Bonner Scholar Program, has been recognized by the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) as an Afterschool Champion.

“She holds the youth in our area near and dear to her heart,” Dave Calvario, dean of students and director of the Center for Service Leadership, said. “She challenges and plants seeds in the University students she mentors and teaches them to become champions in their own respect.”

Brandstetter, one of ten Afterschool Champions from Pennsylvania, was honored at PSAYDN's annual meeting in Pittsburgh March 7. Due to her incredible dedication to the Bonner Scholars Program, she was not able to attend the ceremony as she served with the Pittsburgh Project March 4 through March 10.

Waynesburg University is proud to have Brandstetter as the coordinator of the University's Bonner Scholars Program.

“We have 60 Bonner Scholars in the program,” Calvario said. “Sarah works closely with them in regard to their hours of service, meetings and reflections they need to attend, how they are doing both academically and personally by meeting with them in the fall and spring.”

Cathie Carpenter, pastor and owner of Kid's Café, an afterschool program for younger children, nominated Brandstetter for the award.

“I felt that Sarah was a strong candidate for the award,” Carpenter said. “She goes above and beyond what is expected of that program. She even teaches a class of students to make sure that we have enough tutors and makes sure there is always a freshman or sophomore working into a leadership role at Kid's Café so that when current leaders graduate, it will be a smooth transition.”

Waynesburg University is proud to be one of only 27 schools nationwide to offer the Bonner Scholars Program. Each student at Waynesburg is driven by a passion to serve the local and global community. Waynesburg University's community service efforts are blessed to be led by Brandstetter, who is truly dedicated to continuing God's work in the Waynesburg community.

PSAYDN promotes sustainable, high-quality out-of-school time youth development programs through advocacy and capacity building to enhance the welfare of Pennsylvania's children, youth and families.

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On February 15, the Waynesburg University community was blessed with the presence of a Waynesburg alumna, Anne Bannister. Since graduating in 2009, Banister has committed her life to serving the world around her by applying the skills she gained at Waynesburg University. She spoke to faculty and students in McCance Auditorium about her life after graduation through a lecture titled “Mountains Between Us: Educate, Equip, Empower.”

During her time at Waynesburg University, Banister pursued a degree in communications with a minor in service leadership. Originally, she was unsure of attending a small school, but after visiting Waynesburg University for the first time, she got a sensation that something bigger was going on and that God was present on campus. She soon found that her academic experience would extend much further than the classroom.

“In the fall of 2006, one of my friends invited me to attend a viewing of Invisible Children during Waynesburg's ‘Who's Your Neighbor Week,'” Banister said. “I was absolutely shocked by the genocide in the 20 year war. This really sparked my interest in picking up my minor in service leadership and my interest in helping those in need.”

The staff and faculty at Waynesburg University pushed her to work harder and to achieve more. Before graduating, Anne produced four documentaries for four nonprofit organizations, including the West Waynesburg Jesus Distributor, PeaceWorks, World Vision and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“The faculty at Waynesburg University really did encourage me to be the best that I could be,” Banister said. “The hands on, real world application along with the leadership aspect that Waynesburg focuses on pushed me out of my comfort zone and has really given me more than adequate preparation for what I am doing now.”

Since graduation, Banister has been working with organizations in the small country of Nepal. Located South of China, Nepal is a developing country that suffers from poor health, social inequality and a lack of government support.

“A lot of people are required to fend for themselves,” Banister said. “The country consists of a lot of farming; it's a physically demanding environment there.”

Banister has been fighting for equal rights in Nepal through working with the charity the Edge of Seven, an organization that invests in projects that further alleviate women in developing countries of social inequalities, along with giving them education, health and economic opportunities.

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Two Waynesburg University alumna have made an impact and gained attention for their dedication to maintaining the University's mission of faith, service and learning after their graduation dates.

Margaret Graham, a 2010 public relations and sociology graduate, and Sarah Spicuzza, a 2011 communications and advertising graduate, have continued life after college with Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience (PULSE).

PULSE, an organization committed to cultivating a community of young servant leaders to transform Pittsburgh, places individuals in nonprofit organizations throughout the city to perform volunteer service for 35 hours a week.

Both Graham and Spicuzza work directly with the skill sets they learned at Waynesburg University, such as social media, newsletter writing and annual report writing for the nonprofit organizations to which they are assigned. Spicuzza serves as an executive assistant at Serving Leaders, and Graham serves as the communication coordinator at East Liberty Development Inc.

“PULSE provides a great opportunity to explore vocation and calling while receiving the support of a community and the hands-on experience in a potential career field,” Graham said. 

Both women have been recognized for their service by an online, higher education magazine, and Graham was recently named one of Western Pennsylvania's 2012 "Rising Stars," by Get Involved!, Inc. These awards are presented annually to 21 local young professionals ages 21-29 in the nonprofit, business and governmental sectors who dedicate their time and talent to community organizations and who are making a positive difference.

As Graham and Spicuzza near the end of their leadership experience with PULSE, they remember fondly their accomplishments at both Waynesburg University and with the PULSE program and look forward to a lifetime of service.

"PULSE is an extension of the great things that Waynesburg was able to offer me. Graduating from PULSE is like graduating college all over again,” Spicuzza said. “I am excited to see what God has in store for me.”


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