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By Samantha Berkhead, ’14
At this year’s pep rally to inaugurate the 2013-14 St. Bonaventure basketball season, Bonnies fans were introduced to a new campaign between the university, the Buffalo Bills and the United Way.
The challenge: get 2,000 students, alumni, faculty and staff to pledge to volunteer in their communities, and Buffalo Bills linebacker and United Way team representative Arthur Moats would visit campus to give a talk on the importance of volunteering.
The St. Bonaventure community reached this goal, with 2,010 pledges made before the Nov. 16 deadline. Moats will visit campus sometime in the spring semester, with the date yet to be determined.
Simone Bernstein, the senior social entrepreneurship and altruism major who organized the campus competition, expressed her happiness for the goal’s achievement.
“It is so exciting to reach our goal of 2,000 pledges,” Bernstein said. “It is great to see so much support and excitement about volunteering from the students, alumni and community members.”
In addition to Moats’ visit, students also had the chance to win a variety of prizes.
When a student pledged to volunteer, he or she was entered in a drawing to win giveaways donated by the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County. These giveaways included one pair of autographed Arthur Moats cleats, one Arthur Moats autographed jersey, tickets to a Buffalo Bills game and four Live United shirts autographed by Arthur Moats. If a student helped recruit 25 volunteers, he or she received an autographed picture of Moats.
Bernstein said Moats is a great example of someone who uses his career to give back.
“I wanted to get involved in this initiative since this is an incredible cause and an amazing opportunity to engage the campus community,” she said. “Arthur Moats is an incredible role model. He plays hard on the football field and gives back in so many ways.”
As co-founder of VoluntTEEN Nation, a website that links teens across the country to volunteer opportunities, Bernstein said she felt well prepared to take on this task and get Bonnies to make the pledge.
“Through VolunTEEN Nation, I am involved in planning many national campaigns to encourage more young people to volunteer,” she said. “Organizing and coordinating this competition was an amazing opportunity for me to use my own creativity, reach and expertise to drive this initiative and help Team Moats recruit volunteers.”
Bernstein said the impact of 2,010 new volunteers in communities across the country could be profound.
“If 2,000 people volunteer in the community, they will make a substantial difference,” she said. “It is important that we consider giving our time to support organizations in need of volunteers. Volunteers are critical to the survival of organizations.”
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. We are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.
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