Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Friday, May 24, 2019

Student groups volunteer time during holiday season

APO to wrap gifts for homeless charity

Students continue to find time to serve the D.C. community despite looming exams and end-of-semester work.

Groups like the community service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and the Catholic Student Association are pitching in to help people in need. On Monday, APO will be going to Georgetown Hospital to put up Thanksgiving decorations to bring "holiday cheer" to the patients, according to Elissa Robinson, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. The weekend after Thanksgiving, part of the fraternity will pick up trash at a part of the Anacostia River, she said.

On Sunday, members of the group will wrap presents at the Ballston, Va., shopping mall to raise money for the Robert Pierre Johnson Housing Development Corporation.

The corporation buys housing and keeps it maintained and available at prices accessible for people with low incomes, said Kelly Lange, community service chair of the organization and a junior in the School of International Service.

After the break, the group will also help staff the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's holiday mail program and wrap gifts at Barnes and Noble for donations for a charity that helps the homeless.

Members of the Catholic Student Association went to Project Rachel Saturday, a counseling center for women who are grieving after having abortions. The 14 participating students signed up to paint offices at the center.

The project was suggested by Father David Mott, AU's Catholic chaplain, according to Veronica Gessner, a junior in the School of Public Affairs and the community service chair of the Catholic Student Association. After contacting the workers at Project Rachel, the executive board of the group decided it would be a good way to serve the community.

For some people, volunteering is second nature.

"I went to a Jesuit high school, so I had to do service hours to graduate," said David Klay, a freshman in the School of International Service. "I'm used to it, and now I love service projects"

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