Service project helps community

The freshman class of 2017 started off their experience at Mercyhurst University with a service project on Sept. 3, which involved volunteering at 25 nonprofit agencies across Erie.

These jobs entailed many types of service, ranging from cleaning up Presque Isle beaches, handy work at many area farms and aiding Erie’s senior citizens by spending time helping the elderly in local nursing homes with technology.

Though these jobs are simple in nature, the large scale efforts of the freshman class were gauged to have $30,000 value equivalency from volunteer time. Through the service project, 1,500 hours of service were provided through the 750 volunteers (including staff, chaperones and Laker Leaders that participated), over 2,000 pounds of produce picked from Mercyhurst’s farm for Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwestern Pennsylvania and over eight trash bags worth of garbage were removed from Presque Isle beaches.

In order to reach out to the community’s elderly, volunteers were sent to local nursing homes and were tasked with aiding the residents with any technological difficulties. Problems ranged from difficulty with the television remote to inability to use certain applications on the latest iPhone were short work for Mercyhurst freshmen and provided an outlet for assisting and socializing with Erie’s senior citizens.

When asked about the students’ general reaction to the service project, Director of Service-Learning Colin Hurley stated, “The students were able to learn the joy of service and the most universal reaction of the students was regret that they were only able to give two hours of service.”

For more information on the freshman service project and other service learning opportunities, contact Colin Hurley at