education majors service

Culture of Service

Discover service at Abington and discover an extended family that values your talents and motivates you to commit to meaningful work benefiting those in need.

By: Regina Broscius
The Penn State Abington community supports people struggling with hunger, homelessness, and other issues from Philadelphia to South Dakota through Alternative Spring Break and service organizations on campus.

The Education Club at Penn State Abington collected more than 60 purses for Laurel House, a shelter for students dealing with domestic violence. In return, a Laurel House staffer shared how teachers can support students and families. 

It's a tradition at Abington that some students spend their break working in soup kitchens, tackle building projects, and lend an ear and share a smile to the less fortunate.

The annual Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is one of the most visible service opportunities. COW (Community Outreach Workers) coordinates students interested in making local connections. 

refugee camp

Improving the Future for Refugees

Penn State Abington student Ayra Siddiq said the Afghan refugees live in isolation — a bubble — with little education and very limited options. The camp, managed by the United Nations, sits just outside the capital of Pakistan.

Ayra Siddiq, an economics and film major, discovered firsthand the plight of refugees after visiting a camp just outside the Pakistani capital.

"Life in the camp is dire," she said. "The refugees live in mud houses with minimal access to running water, proper kitchen, sewage, electricity — all things we take for granted. Winters are harsh as well." 

She presents powerful images and stories to audiences, urging them to be the voice of the refugees.

"This issue does not have an easy solution, but I hope that our generation can become the leaders that the world needs to help those in need.  I want to give them tools they need to live a better life." — Ayra Siddiq

Ayra plans a career that attacks these probles on multiple levels: directing films tied to social issues as well humanitarian work and an international law degree.

Lion Ambassadors

Feeding the Hungry

It took a lot of peoplepower and one forklift to deliver the seven tons of food Abington donated to Camp Out for Hunger.

The Abington campus community, led by the student Lion Ambassadors, donated an eye-popping 12,636 pounds of food in 2015. It's been 10 years since they started delivering groceries to a Philadelphia radio station's Camp Out for Hunger, but Arriana Martin said it's satisfying every time. 

Martin graduated last year, but still volunteers — even convincing her employer to made a healthy contribution.

"We've all worked together to help. I'm so proud of the hard work everyone puts into this cause and so happy that I get to continue to be a part of it." — Arriana Martin

Service equals family at Abington, sometimes in the traditional sense such as siblings Lauren and Nick Blair. Lauren learned about the culture of engagement at the Involvement Fair, which highlights clubs and activities. She volunteers with several community-oriented groups nurtured through the Office of Student Life and quickly became a key member.

"I found my passion by being involved on campus and focusing on my studies." — Lauren Blair

For many others at Abington, it's the family they choose. ENACTUS (Entrepreneurial Action by Us) members, for example, forge bonds through hours of shepherding sustainability projects to completion. They purchased a specialized printer and assembled 3D limbs while they were on campus and at home.

 

Carter Bowman

Life-Changing Experiences

Carter Bowman spent a week in Washington, D.C., working with the homeless and achieving a deeper understanding of the challenges others face. 

Image: Pam Brobst

Organizations such as Community Outreach Workers, Abington THON, and Alternative Spring Break offer varying levels of commitment and experiences. But all provide hands-on service an opportunities for reflection and connection with people beyond the campus. 

Alternative Spring Break takes students to New Orleans, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. They return with new perspectives and a renewed sense of gratitude and purpose. And the students struggled with the dichotomy of so many people struggling to find food and housing in one of the most powerful countries in the world.

Community Engagement at Abington

The Office of Student Life provides many opportunities to become involved in the community, to learn more about yourself, and to experience firsthand a variety of issues affecting both our community and our society. 

See how you can get involved through the Office of Student Life.