Spotlight On Service

Casey Saylor, Reporter

Service, one of the four charisms of Mercy, was presented in large amounts during week-long inauguration events to honor new president Dr. Thomas Botzman.

Service began with preparing the Catherine McAuley House for painting on Nov. 13, and then faculty, staff and students alike donated their time at three various sites during the Nov. 16 day of service.

They applied a fresh coat of paint to the Catherine McAuley House, helped with construction for Habitat for Humanity, and worked with children at Mercy Services. Botzman spent an hour serving shoulder-to-shoulder with faculty, staff and students at each site.

Botzman said he was thrilled to work at Mercy Services where he spent time reading aloud to children.

“I’m a softy for little kids,” he said.

Director of Campus Ministry Christine Somers was pleased to see the amount of interest in the day of service. She said many faculty and staff members volunteered ahead of time, while students signed up for the work all the way up to the service date.

“Catherine McAuley was all about service,” said Somers. “That’s just who we are as an institution. [The day of service] will give Dr. Botzman a chance to see some of the service work we’ve been doing for years.”

Student service long ago surpassed the borders of Plymouth and Wilkes-Barre. Videos, photos and personal experiences on display at the Nov. 13 service presentations highlighted the experiences of teams who traveled to Jamaica in January 2011 and Guyana in June 2013.

Graduate PT major Sean Vitale and senior education major Kirsten Fisher donated their time at the table to share their inspiring accounts with other students.

“To me it was just amazing and life changing. It is important to tell others about this opportunity. It is good for the person and for

the others they help,” Fisher said. As they fondly shared pictures and memories, packets of information rested nearby for those interested in attending future trips.

“The experience is eye-opening, and it’s important to know that students have this opportunity to see the world in a totally different way,” said Vitale. “This isn’t the Jamaica of the resorts; this is real.”

Botzman stressed the life-affirming value of giving – and the personal and global awareness service activities provide to students.

“Campus life is quite different from the real world,” said Botzman. “There may be need on campus, but you don’t have people doubting when they will receive their next meal. They will get dinner every night.”

Vitale said he identifies with Botzman’s philosophy.

“Service is one of the most important parts of a Misericordia education because it really puts education into action and the good fortune you have had to be able to get here into perspective,” he says.

Many members of the campus community said they feel it’s only natural for service to be a part of the inauguration celebration.

“It’s a wonderful thing to see a week celebrating us, but also everyone else.” said Botzman. “Because it’s not just about us, all are welcome.”

As President, Botzman hopes that he will always be invited to serve alongside students, upholding and strengthening the charisms of service “in support of our students, our university, and our local and international communities.”

Vitale said he looks forward to see the impact Botzman will have on campus.

“Dr. Botzman is bringing great energy and ideas to Misericordia. I’m excited to see what he has planned for the University that has been so good to me.”

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