Alverno College students are taking action to help bring awareness to the issue of homelessness in Milwaukee. Students will be collecting donations for the Milwaukee Joy House as they try to fill a school bus. Donations of warm clothing, hats, gloves, mittens, blankets, non-perishable food, sanitary items, diapers, paper goods and cash will be accepted. In addition to stuffing the bus, students organized a Zumbathon. The proceeds from that will benefit Community Advocates.
The effort is in response to the discovery of a body in November, 2012 near the lakefront while students, along with friends and family, were taking part in a community clean-up. Alverno College students who were part of that group organized a successful “Stuff the Bus” event in December of 2012, as well as a second event in September, 2013. So far students have raised over $20,000 in donations of money, clothing, blankets, personal hygiene products and non-perishable food items to help the homeless.
The event will take place on Saturday, March 8, from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. in the Pitman Theatre parking lot, located at 39th and Morgan. The Zumbathon goes from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., and takes place in the Reiman Gymnasium. The cost to participate is $15.
The Catholic Herald spoke with Alverno College President Mary Meehan, as well as two students, about their experiences taking part in our 125th anniversary Caring Counts initiative.
Just over a year ago, Alverno College kicked off Caring Counts: The Alverno College Volunteer Challenge as part of its 125th anniversary celebration. The goal of the year-long project was to reach 125,000 hours of volunteer service. The actual total is 307,268 hours, far surpassing to original goal.
“Service to others has always been at the very heart of our mission. Time and again, when the Alverno community is given an opportunity to serve, we respond in ways that exceed even our own expectations,” said Mary J. Meehan, Ph.D., president of Alverno College. “I am deeply humbled by the generosity of the Alverno community.”
Anyone who has a tie to the college was invited to take part in Caring Counts. This includes alumnae/i, the School Sisters of Saint Francis, and families of current students, faculty and staff.
More than 1,500 people documented their volunteer hours. Of those, 229 people logged 125 hours of service or more during the year, accounting for nearly 30,000 hours. More than 200 organizations, including schools, churches, food pantries and homeless shelters, were helped throughout the year.
One of the organizations that benefitted from this project was Hunger Task Force. The whole campus community took part in Knockdown Hunger, collecting 550 boxes of cereal. The boxes were set up domino-style in the Rotunda and knocked down. Students also donated 170 Thanksgiving dinners, complete with a turkey, mashed potatoes,gravy, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls and pie. The dinners cost $55, and students paid for them using their meal plans. The campus also took part in a mandarin orange challenge, collecting 917 cans. Additionally, more than 500 pounds of food was donated as part of Cans Across the Conference, an annual food drive competition between the 14 schools in the Northern Athletics Conference. “Hunger Task Force is thrilled to partner with Alverno College whenever we get the chance,” said Sherrie Tussler, executive director of Hunger Task Force. “Their students and faculty really understand the importance of feeding Milwaukee and they also understand how much fun volunteering can organizing a food drive can be. Alverno College is a great leader in the community.”
Alverno College was recognized for the Jostens/National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators (NADIIIAA) Community Service Awards at the 2013 NCAA Convention in Grapevine, Texas last week.
Brad Duckworth, Alverno’s director of athletics, accepted the award for honorable mention in the continuous project category on behalf of the college’s student-athletes. The award took into consideration the services performed during the 2011-12 academic year.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the whole Alverno community,” commented Duckworth. “The impact that we have been able to make on the entire Milwaukee community was tremendous.”
“To be recognized by NADIIIAA shows the tremendous work that we have accomplished over the last couple of years. There are over 400 NCAA Division III member institutions and we were in the top three for community service. That is a true example of how we live our mission every day.”
The Alverno Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) organized and led the charge in collecting 13,477 nonperishable items and donations for Cans Across the Conference, the annual Northern Athletics Conference (NAC) food drive, in fall of 2011.
Alverno collected the most items in the community service competition amongst the 13 institutions in the NAC, and set a new record in the annual service initiative for the second-straight year. All items and monetary donations collected by Alverno’s SAAC were contributed to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin and Hunger Task Force in Milwaukee.
Cans, other nonperishable items and toiletries were counted, and monetary donations were also accepted, with one dollar equaling two items in the spirited competition. Alverno nearly doubled its total of 7,108 items from 2010′s food drive.
Alverno collected over 25,000 items in the 2012 food drive, and will be eligible for another community service award at the 2014 convention based on efforts during the 2012-13 academic year.
Alverno College students will help feed those in need by donating 170 Thanksgiving dinners to Hunger Task Force. The dinners, which include a turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls and pie, will feed nearly 700 people. The cost of the dinners is $55, and Alverno students used money from their personal meal plans to pay for the holiday dinners. The Athletics department and Food Services Inc. also contributed. This is the third year Alverno College students have donated Thanksgiving dinners. Last year a total of 118 dinners were given to local charities, feeding nearly 500 people.
“We are proud that our students came through for the community and gave even more than last year,” said Vicki Schreiber, assistant dean of students. “Thanks to their generous donations, 170 families who may not have celebrated Thanksgiving will now have dinner on the table.”