Students give back at Pioneer Community Day

Photo by Tyrone Smith Jeff McCauley, stewardship coordinator of Friends of the Riverfront, speaks to students April 12 about the task they will be completing as a part of their volunteer work for Pioneer Community Day.

Photo by Tyrone Smith
Jeff McCauley, stewardship coordinator of Friends of the Riverfront, speaks to students April 12 about the task they will be completing as a part of their volunteer work for Pioneer Community Day.

Originally published in the Globe April 16, 2014

Nearly 160 Point Park students, faculty and staff gave back to the Pittsburgh and Downtown community after volunteering to be a part of the fourth annual Pioneer Community Day (PCD).

The United Student Government (USG) sponsored PCD as a way for students to thank Pittsburgh, according to Julian Singleton, USG member and PCD co-chair.

“Point Park is an urban campus,” Singleton said Saturday outside of the Student and Convocation Center. “The city of Pittsburgh does so much for us. Today is a day for students to give back to the city that gives us so much.”

Students volunteered with organizations including the Humane Society, Hosanna House, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and Friends of the Riverfront.

Jeffrey McCauley, stewardship coordinator for Friends of the Riverfront, was impressed by the volunteers’ work ethic. About 100 volunteers were sent to work with organization.

“Point Park students are highly motivated,” McCauley said Saturday on the North Shore Three Rivers Heritage Trail. “I think this went really well.”

Freshman acting major Colten Gill volunteered with the Campus Activities Board (CAB) on the Southside with the Friends of the Riverfront.

“I had a lot of fun and met a ton of new people from Point Park,” Gill said Saturday. “It was great to see so many people come out and help the community. I’m looking forward to it next year.”

Singleton said he thought PCD went wonderfully, especially because USG beat its attendance goal from last year. There were 125 participants at last year’s PCD.

PCD Co-Chair Kait Baird agreed with Singleton. She said she was “proud to be part of this event.”

“This year I wanted to make it the biggest and best it’s ever been, and I think we succeeded,” Baird said Saturday outside the Student and Convocation Center.

Baird attributed some of the success to the addition of a dunk tank at the post-volunteering event, specifically “Dunk the Dean.”

“To have of all people Dean Paylo in the dunk tank,” Baird said. “He’s a big proponent for PCD. He’s been helping us the whole way.”

This was the first year PCD and CAB did not join together for “Dance for Dreams,” a charity event hosted by CAB.  The dunk tank replaced it as the primary fundraising event as well as the Penny Wars, a competition between the freshmen dorm floors on campus. USG raised about $250 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation with the combination of money from the dunk tank, Penny Wars and raffles.

“It was wonderful and for such a worthy cause, seeing students rally around a charity,” said Keith Paylo, dean of students and Student Affairs, Monday. “I hope it will become a tradition.”

Baird also said the increase of marketing to student groups was one of the changes to PCD this year.

 “We reached out to more groups on campus,” Baird said. “We also started [marketing] earlier. Twitter’s a lot bigger for USG now.”

After students completed their volunteer work, there was a celebration in Village Park that included a photo booth, raffles for gift baskets, music by the University’s student-run radio station WPPJ and lunch for volunteers. Gift baskets included gift cards, concert tickets and Pirates tickets. About 15 no-sew blankets and eight pillow cases were made for the Children’s Hospital.

Food was donated from Bruegger’s Bagels, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Aramark through USG. University President Paul Hennigan, according to Baird, donated many of the gift cards.

“I’m so thankful to all the students who came out today,” Singleton said. “I’m so proud of all the students. It’s beautiful out and a lot of people took the time to volunteer. It means a lot to us and to the University.”

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