In my last column, I reported the results of the Gallop national study of 30,000 college graduates. They confirmed what many have long suspected: it’s not where you go to college that matters for your future success and long-term wellbeing; it’s what you do while you’re there. So, as we end 2014, here are a few of the many examples of Alvernia students who are making the most of their college experience.

According to Gallup, active engagement by students is THE key. It is not enough simply to study hard and complete assigned tasks. Students should pursue opportunities for engagement best suited to their learning and personal growth: internships, field placements, or academic research, especially with a professor; academic and social clubs; chorus or theater, athletics, or other activities; or, at Alvernia, community service projects or a role as a tutor, OWL, RA, first-year mentor, tour guide, student ambassador. Over time, many students do not simply join these efforts. They lead them.

On our campus, beyond the minimum community service expected of all undergraduates, 86% of students are involved in a co/extracurricular organization, club, team, or project; 70% are active in two or more. Best of all, many range widely and join a varsity team and SGA or serve as a tour guide, a peer mentor, and as an officer in their academic club or work in the South Reading Youth Initiative and as a student ambassador and student campus minister.

Here’s a sampling of active and engaged Alvernia All-Stars! 

Jenna Harper, an OT major, is an SGA officer, OWL, varsity lacrosse athlete, and student ambassador and can also be found—camera in hand—shooting pictures for the Sports Information Office.

Andy Kaucher is dedicated to his English major, to Sigma Tau Delta (one of our nationally visible academic societies) and to community service in Reading and can also be found—brush in hand—in his Goggleworks art studio. He also found time to call me out for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

Rob Waller, an Iraq veteran, accounting major, and Holleran Fellow is one of the students who led the development of our Bog Turtle Creek Farm and is active in other environmental projects and in our Alternative Break program.

Ashley Winters, an elementary and special education major involved in the Education Association and as a tutor in the Learning Center, is another Holleran Fellow who has been a leader in the South Reading Youth Initiative and a key person in the launch of the Reading Collegiate Scholars Program.

Kelli Fitzgerald, an OT major active in her academic association (SOTA) and another third-year RA, oversees all freshman living-learning communities and serves as a head tutor for the Learning Center in addition to helping out as a tour guide and ambassador.

Janessa Rasmus, a nursing major, combines leadership roles as an RA, student campus minister, and member of Alvernia Sexual Assault Prevention Peers (ASAPP).

Brianna Whitton, a behavioral health major with minors in psychology and music, leads our flute ensemble, plays French Horn in the band and is the work study staffer in the Fine and Performing Arts Department as well as president of Hooked on Helping and secretary for the Veteran’s Club.

Mylen Ruppert, an early childhood education major and two-sport athlete (track and cross country) recently chosen for the highly selective Marine Corps Officers Program, is an officer of the Ethnic Awareness Society and Active Minds and serves as a peer mentor and Diversity Committee member.

Amanda Galanti, a sport management major and another two-sport athlete (field hockey and softball), has been a team captain and a member of the Student Athlete and Intramural Advisory Boards (SAAC and IAB) as well as being active in the Sports Management Association.

Brielle Gincley, a transfer student marketing major working to launch a campus chapter of the American Marketing Association, is a Holleran Fellow active both in environmental (Bog Creek Turtle farm) and inner city education (South Reading Youth Initiative) issues and has helped found Alpha Phi Omega.

Terry Harrington (aka Spiderman), a healthcare science major and vice president of the Science Association, is a third-year RA who works in Student Financial Planning and also serves as a peer mentor, volunteers at St. Joe’s Hospital and the Highlands, and participates in the CureSader and Veterans clubs.

Actively engaged students are happy and satisfied students too. A recent extensive survey of our students found 9 of 10 seniors and an astonishing 98% of last year’s freshman satisfied or very satisfied with their Alvernia experience. To say the obvious, those profiled above are a few of the countless examples of Alvernia students (soon to be proud alumni) who are “Doing Well and Doing Good.”

Peace and All Good, Tom Flynn

Flynn Files