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For years, all Alvernia students have been required to complete 40 hours of service as a requirement to graduate. The Holleran Center for Community Engagement recognizes that many students go above and beyond this requirement and have implemented a series of incentives for students who complete more than the required number of hours. These awards will be handed out annually at Honors Convocation which will take place this year on April 21, 2013.
Students who complete 100 hours of service in any one academic year will receive a Certificate of Service and an Alvernia Pin.
Students who complete 300 hours of service during their academic career at Alvernia (or 200 hours for upper level transfers) will receive a Graduation Cord.
Students who complete 500 hours of service during their academic career at Alvernia (or 300 hours for upper level transfers) will receive the Holleran Center Community Engagement Award plaque.
The senior student who completes the most service hours will receive the Holleran Center Outstanding Service Award consisting of a plaque and a small monetary donation made to the charity of the recipient's choice. Two similar awards will be given to a faculty or staff member as well as one community partner.
Any questions about the new service awards and incentives can be directed to Judy Bohler, Community Service Coordinator for the Holleran Center at 610-796-5509 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of New Student Orientation in August, over 500 incoming students, as well as their student leaders and faculty advisors, took part in the 2012 Orientation Day of Service, sponsored by the Holleran Center for Community Engagement and the Reading Recreation Commission. The day was designed to introduce these students to the Greater Reading community, as well as Alvernia's core Franciscan value of service. Groups went out to 14 different parks and recreation centers in the City of Reading to serve in a variety of capacities, including painting bleachers, weeding and replanting flower beds, painting recreation centers, picking up trash throughout the parks, among other activities. Overall, the Day of Service was a success and gave participants the opportunity to get to know the place that they will be calling 'home' over the next four years better.
On Saturday, September 29, 2012 approximately 50 students, faculty and staff participated in the second of four days of service for the 2012-2013 academic year. The St. Francis Day of Service occurs annually in honor of Alvernia's patron saint. This year, the St. Francis Day of Service focused on the environment and partnered with the Berks County Parks Department. A group of students, staff and faculty worked to clean up the foundation of the lock tenders house along the Union Canal Trail. Many students responded positively to the experience and were pleased to see the difference that a couple hours of work made for the community partner. The Parks Departments hopes to use the newly cleared site for historical purposes as well as a geocaching location.
The next day of service at Alvernia will take place on Monday, January 21, 2013 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. In 2012, this day of service was very successful with over 215 participants on what is traditionally a day off. Alvernia is looking forward to working with the community again for another community outreach day in honor of the legacy of Dr. King.
In partnership with Pennsylvania Campus Compact (PACC), the Holleran Center for Community Engagement is pleased to start it's third year of the Community Fellows Program. This program gives 25 students the opportunity to enroll as part-time AmeriCorps members while studying at Alvernia University. The Holleran Center Community Fellows program was designed to address compelling community needs in the areas of college access and success, while developing college students as active citizens.
These students commit to serving 300 hours over the course of the academic year in tutoring and mentoring programs. In exchange for their commitment, Community Fellows will receive an AmeriCorps Education Award of $1,175 upon completion of their service to be used to pay for graduate school or to pay off student loans. In addition to serving in the areas of college access and success, the Community Fellows will participate in a series of leadership development and training activities. The first of these activities will take place at an overnight retreat at South Mountain YMCA led by Holleran Center and South Mountain YMCA staff members.
Current students enrolled in the program are working with the South Reading Youth Initiative, an after-school program run by the Holleran Center, as well as Olivet Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the City of Reading. By working with at-risk children and youth to provide career awareness and development of study skills, the Community Fellows are assisting K-12 students in the areas of college access and readiness.
The Community Fellows for the 2012-2013 academic year are: Jennifer Affleck, Leah Baer, Gina Dierolf, Screta Ford, Christine Hall, Karl Hayes, Nicolas Hill, Merelyn Janse, Stephanie Krier, Anne Kushlick, Jessica Marchetti, David McDowell, Jennifer Mejia, Danielle Motze, Alyss Reinsel, Kevin Shainline, Courtney Strautz, Alexandra Terrell, Kristina Thompson, Megan Wensel, Samantha Wilt, Courtney Wilson, Ashley Winters, and Emiley Witman.