Fifteen students will be recognized for their community service when they are presented the National President’s Volunteer Service Award, brought to Seton Hall for the first time by the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, during a ceremony in the Chancellor’s Suite Thursday at 7 p.m.
The winners of the award compiled 3,476 hours of service in 2009, President of Alpha Phi Omega Melissa Boege said, who recommended bringing the award to Seton Hall.
Service projects of honored Seton Hall students include Releasing the DOVES, serving as a Bible group leader or Sunday school teacher, volunteering at daycare centers, nursing homes, community or campus programs, performing service abroad through programs outside of the university and volunteering consistently with valued causes.
The gold level winners of the award are Melissa Boege, Stephanie Bower, Kerry Magro and Mel Watson. The silver level winners are Nicole Battaglia, Jessica Hill, Jacie Jones, Allison Marron, Danielle Polak and Daria Preston. The bronze level winners are Sana Hussain, Amy Smith, Alexandra Stockton, Jenny Todd and Samantha Woodington.
According to the National President’s Volunteer Service Award Web site, “The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation (the Council) was established in 2003 to recognize the valuable contributions volunteers are making in our communities and encourage more people to serve.”
Boege said she was interested in bringing the award to Seton Hall because she had participated in it throughout high school.
“I saw that there were so many students on campus who were dedicated to community service and could benefit from this award program, and as a member of Alpha Phi Omega, I thought it would be a good idea to look into applying to be a certifying organization,” Boege said.
The Division of Volunteer Efforts helped Alpha Phi Omega in the process of bringing the award to the university, Boege said.
“Since we know that so many students volunteer through DOVE, APO wanted to reach out to them so they could communicate information about the awards program to their volunteers and just to discuss the program and our ideas for the awards ceremony,” Boege said.
Battaglia said she felt honored to receive the President’s Volunteer Service Award. She completed 198 hours of community service which included a trip to El Salvador with DOVE, Camp Acorn which is a camp for children with disabilities, a Haunted House, SOS and Relay for Life.
“I love that Seton Hall has so many opportunities to give back to people all around the world and how so many students are so giving and full of compassion,” Battaglia said. “(I am) grateful for all the amazing people I’ve met in the places I’ve been to along the way; they all share a special place in my heart.”
Junior Mel Watson completed almost 750 hours of service in 2009 and said she was honored to be receiving an award for her efforts.
“Some of the service that I did was volunteering weekly at St. John’s Soup Kitchen in Newark, I went on a spring break mission trip to the Bronx, N.Y. with FOCUS, along with volunteering as a landscaper at a summer camp during the month of June,” Watson said. “Service is a big part of my life and I think it’s great that (Alpha Phi Omega) opened the (National President’s Volunteer Service Award) to the entire Seton Hall community.”
In order to qualify for the President’s Volunteer Service Award, adults must perform over 100 hours of community service in one year and record their hours on the President’s Volunteer Service Award site.
Depending on the amount of hours served, recipients may receive an official President Volunteer Service Award lapel pin, a personalized certificate of achievement and a congratulatory letter from President Barack Obama.
“Service in any category imaginable counts,” Boege said. Categories include advocacy and human rights, animals, children and youth, disabilities, education and literacy, women, seniors, religion, hunger, homelessness housing and emergency safety.
The only service that does not count, Boege said, are paid positions or internships counting for class credit.
“One of the best things about this award is that there isn’t just one winner,” Boege said.
Carolyn Maso can be reached at email@example.com.