One of the reasons why I love my job as dean of students is because our students are so successful and committed to making University of the Sciences a better experience and the local community a better place. Permit me to tell you a few of their stories.
- One of the University’s great traditions is Make a Deal for a USP Devil. This tradition is in its fifth year and consists of a charity auction that raises money for Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA). This year two RAs, Jamie Lindberg PhC’11 and Joe Devito PA’10, were the students in charge of planning this charity event. They both decided they wanted to make the event more meaningful than it had been in the past. They did this by learning about MANNA and volunteering in the organization’s kitchen. As a result of their engagement with MANNA, the event was a great success, raising more than $1,400 for MANNA. Another positive result is that a handful of students became so excited to help that they now volunteer regularly at MANNA. Jamie and Joe did a wonderful job making this event enjoyable and meaningful for other students.
- Astride Henry HS’09 started her senior year with an unbelievable challenge in front of her. The school had given her one year to rebuild and grow her sorority, Sigma Phi Zeta. Her sorority is unique to the University as it is a local chapter and it began as the only organization on campus specifically serving minority women as a multicultural and service sorority. With a history she wanted to preserve, Astride worked diligently this year to recruit members for her organization and make a name for herself in the Greek community. Now as the year comes to the end, Astride can leave the University on a high note. Not only did she succeed, she surpassed all expectations. Sigma Phi Zeta is now a thriving organization of 14 members serving the minority population at the University and in the community. Their Minority Health Fair held this semester helped to educate the community members on issues and health concerns that are specific to minority populations. This is just one example of the way Astride has been able to pursue her passions and contribute to the community.
- After a number of years without an on-campus HIV testing option for students, the student organization, Alliance, with the mentorship of their advisor, Bill Horton, a media technician in the Department of Information Science, solicited the resources of an adjunct professor, Brian Green, who is director of SafeGuards, a non-profit public health entity that provides free, confidential and rapid HIV testing. This partnership between the Alliance, Prof. Green, and the Student Health and Counseling Center, conducted an inaugural HIV testing clinic last week in the Old Gym. Prof. Green’s staff is certified at the city and state levels to provide rapid testing and the requisite pre and post-test counseling that constitute the best practices model of HIV testing in this country. Over 60 students were tested at this event, which is double their goal for the day. This serves as an excellent example of collaboration between student organizations, faculty, Student Affairs, and community partners.
- The Olympic Games have come to Philadelphia! Well, not the world-wide athletic competition, but an exciting campus-wide replica, sponsored by the University’s Student Government Association under the leadership of VP of Finance Tom Franko PharmD’11 and President Gary Smedley PharmD’11. Individuals and teams representing 31 student organizations are competing for gold, silver, and bronze medals in 25 events. Some are the traditional events of the modern Olympics – archery, swimming, track, volleyball, badminton, and of course, the pentathlon. Flag football, billiards, Ultimate Frisbee, dodge ball, table tennis, and kickball were also among the events that provided individual and team competition. Other events included chess, Jeopardy, and Trivia Pursuit tournaments, a Rock Band contest, and the traditional picnic activities of a water balloon toss, three-legged races, and egg-and-spoon races that were part of the fun at Student Appreciation Day.
For several weeks, the Olympic Games have provided many fun and exciting activities that give students a distraction from their challenging studies and the opportunity to engage in a little healthy competition. SGA has made a great effort to reach out to faculty, staff, and alumni to also get involved as officials, judges, and spectators.
- This year, our Greek community has done an amazing job living the best of Greek Life. As a community, our Greeks did more than 4,000 hours of volunteer service and maintained a GPA higher than the all-campus average. The Greek GPA increased to 3.044, surpassing all expectations set for the community. In addition to succeeding in the classroom and serving the community, Greek organizations have also made the University a better place for students. This year, Greek organizations have sponsored numerous educational and social programs for students to attend. Our Greeks are continually providing opportunities for all students to make the most of their time at the University.
These are just a few of the many stories that illustrate the rich service and leadership traditions of our students. While our students work hard on their studies, they also find time to give back to the University and the local community. This is why I am very proud to work with the outstanding students of University of the Sciences.