Taking care of and pride in downtown Erie by volunteering within the community was the day’s agenda for 350 Gannon University students, faculty, staff and alumni participating in Day of Caring, which stems from the United Way’s Days of Caring in April.
While Gannon does most of the planning for its own Day of Caring, collaborating with United Way along the way, this year the University participated in a new planning process on getconnected.org, an online community service site available for all organizations to plan initiatives on one comprehensive, user-friendly platform.
Focusing on the Erie-GAINS (Erie-Gannon Alliances to Improve Neighborhood Sustainability) neighborhood surrounding campus, volunteers worked on several key Gannon projects, including TreeVitalize, Little Free Libraries and the Gannon Goodwill Garden.
Student groups and organizations acted as community leaders through their volunteer work. Representing Habitat for Humanity, Renee Richardson, Patrice Swick, Meredith Gursky and Tyler Beers installed a new Little Free Library near the Downtown YMCA on Eleventh and Peach streets and filled the handmade public library with an assortment of books.
Other groups and organizations such as the football team, the dance team, Beta Beta Beta (Gannon’s Biology Honor Society), the Gannon University Society of Physician Assistants (GUSPA), along with individual volunteers and others, worked to build a new Little Free Library that will be installed in July, and plant 80 new trees in the Erie-GAINS neighborhood. Volunteers cleaned up Gridley Park, the Bayfront Bluffs and other locations within the area, and built raised garden beds for the Gannon Goodwill Garden.
“Day of Caring is a great way for students to get involved in the community in a way that lets them see the larger context,” said Sara Nesbitt, program coordinator of the Center for Social Concerns.