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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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Year in and year out,Waynesburg University students learn the importance of assisting those in need. During their fall, winter and spring breaks, students have the opportunity to travel the world to serve others, living out the mission of Waynesburg and spreading the love of God. While most students visit foreign territories, one student is returning to his native land.

Esteban Saldi, a senior human services major from La Paz, Bolivia, will travel with Dave Calvario, dean of students and director of the Center for Service Leadership, and six additional students to Caquiaviri, Bolivia during spring break. This is the first time Waynesburg students have visited the South American country.

“The aspect of this trip that excites me the most is that we are going to Esteban's home country,” Calvario said. “This has been a trip he and I have talked about for more than three years and it has finally come together.”
At the end of his freshman year, Saldi worked in a well digging project through Samaritan's Purse. The inspiration for the trip to Bolivia came from this partnership and working to bring water to rural communities.

This is the first time Waynesburg University is partnering with Samaritan's Purse for a service trip. For more than 40 years, Samaritan's Purse has worked to bring assistance in the name of Jesus Christ to those hurting around the world. Through various projects, they reach out to suffering children, disaster areas, disease and famine victims. They provide first class medical service as well as supplying mission hospitals with much needed equipment and supplies.

Calvario anticipates the experience of the burgeoning partnership and helping others receive clean water.

“Most of us take for granted on a daily basis that, when I turn on a faucet in America, clean drinkable water will come out,” Calvario said. “This is not the case in many countries. Partnering with a Christian organization like Samaritan's Purse will allow us further our University's goal to connect faith, learning and serving.”

Saldi is excited to show his peers and Calvario his home, where he spent his childhood, as well as allow them to see his culture. Although they have a lot of work to complete, time will be reserved for Saldi to take them around his country.

“What I would enjoy the most is being able to share the experience with other students as they get to be in my country and learn new things from my culture,” Saldi said. “I am happy to share any information I can in order to educate people about my country.”

Additionally, 84 students will serve on three other trips during break. Fourteen will travel to the Florida Springs Institute to reintroduce a plant species vital to the manatee habitat. Traveling to Belize, 13 students will assist in tutoring and construction. Continuing an established partnership, 36 will spend a week working with the Pittsburgh Project. Twenty-one will assist the Lake Norman Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Concord, N.C.


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