WJU students Make a Difference

MAKING A DIFFERENCE — Students from Wheeling Jesuit University took part in several community service projects as part of the university’s annual Make A Difference Day event, Aug. 18. -- Contributed

WHEELING — More than 300 incoming students participated in Wheeling Jesuit University’s annual Make a Difference Day on Aug. 18, and the event has been a tradition for more than 20 years.

Students, joined by student leaders and employees, contributed nearly 900 service hours at 25 local community agencies. The sites included Appalachian Outreach; Augusta Levy Learning Center; Bellaire Salvation Army; Catholic Charities; Children’s Home of Wheeling; the Children’s Museum of Ohio Valley; Gabriel Project; Grow Ohio Valley; Holy Family Child Care Center; House of Hagar; Laughlin Chapel; Living Free; Mount Saint Joseph; Mount Wood; Noah’s Ark Childcare & Learning Center; Rolling Hills Rehabilitation and Nursing Center; Salvation Army in Wheeling; Samaritan House; Schrader Center; Seeing Hand Garden; Soup Kitchen of Greater Wheeling; the Silver Lining Group; 16th Street Park Project; and Welty Home.

“Community service is fundamental to a Jesuit education, not only for providing an opportunity to help others, but so that we and our students may get to know those on the margin, and so our hearts and minds may be touched. Service directs our studies, research, and action to create a more just world,” said Jamey Brogan, director of campus ministry, mission and identity.

Make a Difference Day has been a part of WJU since 1994, when first-year students began to perform one day of service as part of their first-year seminar class assignments. FYS is a one-credit class taken in the fall semester that covers a variety of academic and social topics meant to help students successfully adjust to college.

“Make a Difference Day is a special way we invite new students into our WJU family and the greater Wheeling community. We have been doing this for the past 25 years because it helps introduce new students into what it means to be a man or woman with and for others,” explained Colleen Ryan Mayrand, director of service for social action center. “Education at a Jesuit school means looking at the needs of the world and finding how you can fill them with whatever skills and gifts you have. Introducing the new students to Make a Difference Day shortly after they arrive on campus instills this tradition from the start. We were so excited to welcome so many new students this way.”