By Nathan Ress
Every semester, Canisius College sets aside a day to come together as a school community within the city of Buffalo for a day of service. For the Spring 2017 semester, this day will be Saturday, April 8. The event will officially begin at 9:00 a.m. with students meeting in the Student Center to be picked up and transported to their service sites. The Griffin was able to speak to Matt Pernick ‘18, and Margaret Treichler ‘19, Community Day co-directors, in time for details and hype about the event.
As stated, the event will kick off at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, but there is still plenty of time for interested students to sign up. Community Day will be accepting applicants up until Saturday morning, and students can feel free to show up Saturday morning to be placed in a service opportunity. Breakfast and lunch will also be provided in the Student Center and Palisano Pavilion respectively, serving a renowned gumbo as well as veggie options.
“You don’t need to be part of a group to make a difference,” said Treichler. She sees the event as an opportunity for students to get involved in their community, as a way for meeting new people while doing some good. Treichler encourages students who wish to get involved but don’t know how, or who are uninvolved to come to Community day as an entry point within the community.
“In our community there’s always going to be a need for service,” echoed Pernick. He too sees the event as a way to get involved, meet new people, and to understand the Buffalo community and the need present in it.
“The idea behind Community Day,” continued Pernick, “is that our entire community comes together and makes an impact.” This idea is the driving force behind the event, and Pernick sees the Spring 2017 event as helping to promote this in a variety of ways.
First, the event will allow Canisius alumni to volunteer alongside the student body, a feature specific to the Spring event. Pernick hopes that this will allow a larger force to take action on Saturday, as well as bringing different generations of the community together. He also sees this as an opportunity for students to show alumni the amount of activism that takes place on the Canisius, and for alumni to find reasons to be proud of their alma mater, as well as continue to come back to do service.
The day of service will also add an interfaith dimension with attendants from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These volunteers will work alongside contributors from One Jesuit Buffalo, a local Jesuit volunteer organization.
Pernick also stated that he is “pushing for more involvement from faculty.” He would like to see more teachers coming together with their students and the rest of the Canisius community. The purpose of the day of service is to bring each branch of Canisius together, and the educators are not small part of the school’s family tree. Their example would certainly go noticed by students.
“There’s always going to be one moment that makes it all worthwhile,” said Pernick. Whether this experience be a conversation with a peer, with someone a participant meets on site, a scene of need from their city, or just a broader appreciation for Buffalo’s need, Pernick knows that Community Day will “bring the best out of you.”
There are certainly plenty of opportunities for students to find this experience on Saturday. The list of sites where service will take places numbers over 20, and boasts the addition of the Buffalo City Mission in its first semester of participation. Other possible sites include: Vive La Casa: 50 Wyoming Ave, Buffalo, a site dedicated to sheltering refugees, St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy: 325 Walden Avenue Buffalo, Habitat for Humanity: at both 390 Dewey Ave. Buffalo and 1675 S. Park Ave. Buffalo, Food Bank of WNY: 91 Holt St, Buffalo, Emerald North Nursing Home: 1205 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, Buffalo Naval Park: 1 Naval Park Cove, Buffalo, as well a range of on campus opportunities.
“There’s always a lot to be excited about,” said Pernick.
Pernick also gave credit to the following individuals for being instrumental in the process: Joe Van Volkenburg, assistant to the director of campus ministry, students Julia Dressler and Gillian Skidmore, all campus ministry interns, and faculty coordinators Dr. Camille Pontrello and Dr. Julie Anna Golebiewski.