Nov 30, 2022
By Elizabeth Egan, ’23
The incredible generosity of the St. Bonaventure University community was on display during yesterday's (Nov. 29) #GivingTuesdayatBonas.
Four hundred donors joined together online in reflecting the university’s Franciscan values, raising more than $83,000 for the outreach ministries of the Franciscan Center for Social Concern (FCSC).
“We are humbled by and grateful for this outpouring of support,” said Alice Miller Nation, director of the FCSC. “We know that Bonnies form a tight circle, but it’s a circle that has spaces and places to welcome others into that circle. Every donated dollar allows our students the chance to welcome others while gaining valuable experiences and leadership skills.”
With lives disrupted by inflation and lingering effects of the pandemic, Miller Nation noted that the service, advocacy and social justice programs within the FCSC are becoming increasingly important to the Olean community.
The Warming House, believed to be the nation’s oldest student-run soup kitchen, has received more guests over the past few months than at the height of the pandemic. While student volunteers typically serve within a range of 40 to 80 meals per day, there have been several days with almost 100 meals served.
The SBU Food Pantry is also an important resource for community members as well as students. With the high cost of groceries, those dealing with food insecurity now have the ability to supplement their food supply with access to a range of fresh, frozen and canned foods.
In the months leading up to GivingTuesday, senior journalism major Elizabeth Egan of Rochester, New York, interviewed students who volunteer for the different FCSC organizations, including Bona Buddies, Silver Wolves, SBU@SPCA, Break the Bubble, SBU Food Pantry and the Warming House.
Emily Gustafson, a senior biology major from Smethport, Pennsylvania, started volunteering for SBU@SPCA during her sophomore year in preparation for applying to veterinary school. She enjoyed taking weekly trips to walk dogs and play with cats at the Cattaraugus County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and now serves as the lead coordinator for the program.
“We help socialize the animals so when people come to adopt them they are used to people and don’t act so crazy,” Gustafson said. “Socialization really helps calm the animals around people, and knowing that is very rewarding.”
Sarah Haq, a senior accounting major from Allegany, New York, has volunteered with the SBU Food Pantry since she was a sophomore and is now lead coordinator of the program.
“We really serve as a supplement for people who just need a little extra help,” Haq said. “I love knowing that I am a part of something that is able to make life a little easier for the students who need it.”
Miller Nation noted that the FCSC offers students a wide choice of internships, service experiences and leadership opportunities, several with a focus on the causes and solutions to social problems.
“Each of these programs is student organized, student run and student evaluated,” she said. “It is because of the generosity of others that our students are able to engage with society’s most vulnerable, creating a lasting impact for all involved.”
For more information about the FCSC or to volunteer, please contact Alice Miller Nation at email@example.com or (716) 375-7813. To make a donation, please visit www.sbu.edu/donate.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. St. Bonaventure was named the #5 regional university value in the North in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 college rankings edition.