Laboring With Love

On Sept. 19, students and faculty members joined together once again for the 15th Annual Labor of Love. This year, approximately 100 volunteers participated in the event, leaving 10-12 individuals for each location.

By Jessie Krehlik

Photo Editor

On Sept. 19, students and faculty members joined together once again for the 15th Annual Labor of Love. This year, approximately 100 volunteers participated in the event, leaving 10-12 individuals for each location.

After a sharing a continental breakfast on McKenna Lawn to kick off the event at 8 a.m., students listened to a welcome speech by the director of campus ministries, Cynthia Boland, and a prayer offered by the Sisters of Charity, the volunteers departed for their destinations around 8:45 a.m.

This year, volunteers visited nine different volunteer locations: Green Meadows Nursing Home, Redstone Highlands Nursing Home, St. Emma’s Monastery, Christian Layman Thrift Store, Caritas Christi, Alabaster Productions, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church Pantry, Greensburg YMCA and Westmoreland Habitat for Humanity Resale Store. Although some volunteering ended at different times than others, the majority of the volunteers headed back to campus by 1:30 p.m.

Boland contacts companies during the summer in order to organize the event. “I try to get locations that have been popular in the past, sites where students get to work with people and sometimes we get a request from a location that needs volunteers,” said Boland.

The acts of charity performed at the different volunteer locations depend on where the volunteers go. At the nursing homes, students play games with the elderly and make arts and crafts. At Alabaster Productions, volunteers helped build a theater and daycare.

Boland said, “Our students worked on painting, moving, and cleaning.” In the past, students have helped with construction work for Habitat for Humanity, but this year, they spent their time indoors at the Resale store.

According to Boland, Green Meadows and Redstone Highlands are among the most popular locations for SHU volunteers. “We try to give students their first choice, but most locations can only take so many volunteers,” said Boland. Although she tries to keep it as a first come first serve basis, Boland also tries to keep friends together as well.

Labor of Love occurs early in the Fall semester in order to encourage new friendship among students, freshmen and upperclassmen alike. Jessica Orlowski, a sophomore, said, “For new students, it gives them an opportunity to meet people.”
“It is a great way to get the semester going and be mindful that other people have needs greater than your own,” said Lauren Dorsch, a senior.

Labor of Love used to be an event held on Labor Day each year, but once SHU realized that many students could not participate because they chose to go home for the long weekend, it was eventually moved a week later. This year, the event took place two weeks later, in order to accommodate the football game.

Each year, Boland watches the number of volunteers increase. “It used to be a mandated event for freshmen, but now it’s completely voluntary. The number is still high, which says a lot,” said Boland.

Statistically, women tend to volunteer more than men; however, Boland keeps in mind that many men’s sports teams have games and practices that conflict with the day of service.

The benefits of Labor of Love are mutual between the volunteers and those they help during their day of service. The elderly and families helped are really grateful, and “students really seem to enjoy the day,” said Boland. “The bottom line is, it’s doing good for people in need. When you do that, a real sense of community builds among the volunteers.”

“Ever since high school, I’ve participated in community service activities. It’s like a stress reliever, and not only do I get to meet some freshmen that I’d not met before, but I also get to make a difference,” said Orlowski.

Sophomore Josie Rush agrees with Orlowski, “Our campus is filled with community-oriented students. A problem often is that these people want to help, but aren’t sure where to direct their efforts. Labor of Love is a chance to organize the willing volunteers and really make a difference. This is a great opportunity for students to see how they can help better their community,” said Rush.

SHU has another day of service in the spring semester, known as the Martin Luther King Take the Day On. It takes place in early February. Students are encouraged to participate in both events.