Seton Hill students show love for Greensburg
By Bob Stiles
Published: Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, 8:42 p.m.
The four women reached out with rags in their hands and vigorously rubbed the scuffed wall at the YMCA in Greensburg.
They laughed and joked, despite the work, because they are glad to help the YMCA and their community, they said.
Katie Gammon, Jena Wilson, Amy Hart and Emily Frost joined about 100 other Seton Hill University students, staff and interim President Bibiana Boerio on Saturday in the 19th annual “Labor of Love,” a community-service project sponsored by the university.
The students sorted clothing, cleaned, trimmed and cleared vegetation and did other work at 12 different sites in the Greensburg area, organizers said.
Gammon, a junior from Lexington, Ky., was taking part in the program for her third straight year.
“I think it's a great opportunity for Seton Hill University students to get involved in their community and lend a helping hand,” she said.
Besides scrubbing scuff and crayon marks off walls, Gammon and other students mopped floors, cleaned tables and exercise equipment, and worked in the children's play area at the YMCA on South Maple Avenue.
“We showed up and we did whatever they wanted us to do,” said Wilson, a freshman from Cambria County.
The “Labor of Love” project seeks to show students the importance of helping in their community, said the Rev. Dave von Schlichten, a campus ministry member who was with students at the Y.
“It's part of the legacy of Elizabeth Anne Seton and the Sisters of Charity,” he said. “We're very dedicated to service.”
The university is named in honor of Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, the founder of the Sisters of Charity and the first American-born saint.
Students began Saturday with a breakfast on campus, then traveled to various work sites.
“I think it's an example of how the university is showing the students the need to get involved in the community, to be well-rounded adults,” said George O'Brien, the Greensburg YMCA's chief executive officer.
Seven students helped in the St. Vincent DePaul store on South Main Street in the city.
They assisted staff in moving out summer clothing from the sales floor and replacing them with winter articles. The students prepared the summer clothing to be sent to missions.
“I never worked in a thrift shop,” said freshman Ashley Herman of Latrobe. “I thought it would be nice to help out.”
Several students, like Herman, said they learned about “Labor of Love” through the Connection class, a university program that shares with new students what Seton Hill officials expect of them and how they can be better students and people.
“We helped out last year,” said student Caley Garhart, as she stopped arranging clothes for a few seconds. “It was a lot of fun and a great experience.”
Through her labor, Garhart, a sophomore from Altoona, helped fulfill community service requirements for Alpha Lambda Delta, a university honors society. The students discovered that working together gave them a chance to form friendships.
“We find what we have in common,” said Hart, a junior from Reading. “We get to bond and meet new people. It's nice to bond over service.”
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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