Eden Cohen, News Editor
February 26, 2014
Filed under News
Greeks are banding together to fight for a cause close to home.
Kappa Delta Rho, Delta Chi and Alpha Sigma Alpha members are joining together to sponsor an event dubbed “Save the South.”
The event is to raise awareness about the South Lodges conditions, participating member Brandon Dargay said.
Buckhorn Lodge and Sunset Lodge are distinctly more worn than their northern counterparts, such as Larkspur Lodge and Briar Lodge, Dargay said.
“The lodges have never been renovated,” Dargay said. “I believe my organization moved into (a southern lodge) as soon as it was built … 32 years ago.”
Aside from the southern lodges being worn, they’re also not cheap.
South Lodges residents, according to Dargay, pay the same amount as North Lodges residents for buildings in worse condition.
Another concern, participating member Hannah Coughlin said, is administrators may choose to destroy the South Lodges altogether.
“There has been a lot of talk about campus wanting to tear down the South Lodges and build a different building in its place,” she said. “We have a lot of history within our houses that would be devastating to lose.”
Their ultimate goal, Coughlin said, is for the South Lodges to be renovated.
In the meantime, Dargay said, the campaign’s purpose is to raise awareness.
Participants are to sell shirts and advertise their cause, Dargay said.
Proceeds are to go to the student government’s allocations fund for all student oranizations, Dargay said.
“We believe that getting our message out and helping all organizations by donating to the fund is the best way to go about doing this,” he said.
Participants plan to begin the event within the next month, and to continue until the end of the semester, Dargay said.
“Possibly (we’ll) restart again next school year also, until the message has been sent,” he said.
University president Jem Spectar said after academic building renovations are completed, the next project he plans to adopt is renovating housing, most notably the College Park Apartments and the South Lodges.
“We just believe we’re being cheated,” Dargay said, “and we’re trying to show that we care enough to do something about it that is beneficial to everybody.”
- See more at: http://www.upj-advocate.com/news/2014/02/26/greeks-plan-to-demand-better-lodges/#sthash.JUQnFCsD.dpuf
Amstrid Gomez, Features Editor
February 12, 2014
Filed under Features
Two Pitt-Johnstown staff members received a Staff Appreciation Awards for service from university President Jem Spectar.
Student Life Director Sherri Rae and Athletic Director Pat Pecora were each honored with an award at the December Staff Luncheon.
Rae received the President’s Staff Award for Excellence in Service to the Community, according to a Pitt-Johnstown website article.
“Not only a true cheerleader for Pitt-Johnstown, she is a champion of the community with an unwavering dedication to its success,” said the article.
Rae said she knew she was nominated for the award.
“It’s always a bit of a surprise to know that you were chosen for such an honor from among your peers,” she said.
Rae is highly involved on campus as well as in the Johnstown area community.
“I am responsible for promoting, tracking and assessing student participation in the Real World Action Program, coordination of campus events such as New Student Orientation and Homecoming.
Rae also said she supervises all student organizations and is Programming Board adviser.
Off-campus, Rae is the Young Professionals of the Alleghenies president.
She volunteers with other organizations such as Cambria County Children and Youth Services, Goodwill Good Guides Mentoring Program and the Special Olympics.
She also works with the Cambria Somerset Outstanding Young Woman Scholarship Program and its Cinderella Project, which collects and distributes prom dresses for young women who can’t afford them.
Rae said her community service helps her on campus because she can provide students and student organizations with various service opportunities since she has the connections.
“Some of our student groups have provided valuable assistance to community projects, like Alpha Sigma Alpha, Sigma Tau Gamma, the Cheerleaders, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and Women’s Soccer, who will be helping me out with the Special Olympics Opening Ceremonies.”
Rae said she thinks it is a good idea to give staff members this type of recognition because it’s hard to know the great things others do outside of work.
“(The award) gives the staff incentive to stretch beyond day-to-day responsibilities and do more, especially in this award for service in the community.
“It is important for us to be useful in this community that we call home, and to represent the university positively in all ways that are within our reach,” Rae said.
Athletic Director Pat Pecora received the President’s Staff Award for Excellence in Service to Pitt-Johnstown.
Pecora said he has worked at Pitt-Johnstown for 38 years.
He said receiving the award was a complete surprise.
“President Spectar always starts the awards by describing the person who is going to receive it, so I like to guess who it’s going to be.
“When I realized he was describing me I was completely shocked. It was a pleasant surprised and I’m very humbled by it,” Pecora said.
“He is a true ambassador for the University, and leads the way when it comes to promoting pride and community on campus.”
“His leadership and ever-positive attitude about all things Pitt-Johnstown, not to mention his unparalleled success as a coach, makes Mr. Pecora deserving of this award,” said the website article.
Pecora said the staff luncheon is held every year and that it’s a great opportunity to spend time with his peers.
“There are always good conversations with good people, so it’s a nice time,” said Pecora.
Like Rae, Pecora said it’s important to recognize staff members with this type of award.
“UPJ staff (members) work very hard, it’s nice to be recognized and be told ‘thank you for your service’, he said.
Pecora said there are many people who deserve this award and he can’t wait to see who receives it in the future.
- See more at: http://www.upj-advocate.com/features/2014/02/12/staff-members-receive-service-awards/#sthash.LkC5ZOsI.dpuf
Nathan Bottiger, Editor-in-Chief
February 7, 2014
Filed under Features
Pitt-Johnstown fraternity and sorority members focus on more than just their social lives and gatherings, with some striving to go above and beyond for their community.
Sigma Tau Gamma President Joseph Rizkalla, junior, said his fraternity members recorded between 200 and 250 service hours last semester.
Rizkalla said a major portion of these service hours was spent renovating an abandoned Moxham warehouse that may be turned into a museum.
Sigma Tau brothers clean up the area, remove trees and debris, as well as sweep the floors and move old items from outside storage into the warehouse.
Rizkalla said, if the warehouse becomes a museum, it would help improve the Moxham community.
Rizkalla said two fraternity members are to risk the cold, participating in the Polar Plunge 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, which is to be held at the Quemahoning Reservoir.
The two members are to pay $50 each to jump into frigid waters, supporting the Special Olympics.
The event is run by the Pennsylvania’s state organization for Special Olympics, and other members from the fraternity are to help with the organization of the event.
Rizkalla said they do more local community services such as Light the Night Walk. The fraternity also cleans up an adopted highway and around Pitt-Johnstown’s campus.
“I like the amount of community service that we do,” Rizkalla said.
“It helps to tie all of us together in a closer brotherhood and it allows us to give back to the community that has allowed us to grow and be who we are today.”
Another large contributor to the community service projects provides a primary focus on these projects with afterthoughts toward socializing.
Alpha Phi Omega Vice President of Fellowship Sam McGaha, sophomore, said their service fraternity averages 900 or more service hours a semester.
Last semester, McGaha rounded up to around 60 hours herself, and Junior Megan Knowles recorded around 70 hours individually.
McGaha said the fraternity requires each member to complete at least 15 hours, which is comprised of some group projects but also individual projects.
“You have to do at least one on your own.”
McGaha said individual projects include activities like being a liaison or working for community service organizations.
McGaha said Knowles completes her individual service hours volunteering at Highland Library.
McGaha said Alpha Phi Omega is also sending two participants to the Polar Plunge that Sigma Tau Gamma members are attending with similar support in organizing the event.
McGaha said another big event Alpha Phi Omega members participate in is the Heart Walk, which provides money to former fraternity member Sammy Scholl, who underwent a heart transplant.
The proceeds go toward her medical expenses. McGaha said once Scholl’s expenses have been paid for through future walks, the proceeds are to shift to another organization helping people in similar situations.
McGaha said, as a passive service project, the fraternity also collects soda pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House charity.
McGaha said the organization is planning to start a possible traditional service project with Relay for Life next year.
She said the project is not certain, but it would provide the organization the ability to participate in an annual event, forming some type of legacy among organization members.
McGaha said participating in community service projects is a humbling experience.
“It makes me feel better to give back to less fortunate people,” she said, “knowing that you helped make their lives a little bit better.”
- See more at: http://www.upj-advocate.com/features/2014/02/07/greeks-excelling-at-community-service/#sthash.MxJanmtB.dpuf
NOTE: Alpha Phi Omega is a national, co-ed service fraternity that has set the standard for college campus-based volunteerism since 1925. There are active chapters on more than 350 campuses, and we strive to help each individual member develop leadership skills, experience friendship on many levels and provide service to others.
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