Georgian Court University students, faculty, and staff last year contributed nearly 121,000 volunteer service hours to help individuals, community organizations, and area nonprofit agencies.
That is the most recent figure reported by GCU’s Office of Mission Integration, which tracks service activities performed by members of the GCU community. The new figure, up more than 27 percent from 2017 when the campus reported 94,745 service hours, mirrors the university’s dedication to the Mercy core value of service.
“It really demonstrates the commitment of the overall campus,” says Evelyn Quinn, M.S.W., M.Ed., ’74, GCU vice president for mission integration. “We are invested. We talk a lot about our values, but this indicates that we live what we say.”
The value of serving others is priceless, but with $24.69/hour as the national value of volunteer time, the GCU community effectively donated more than $2.4 million in service hours. A few of the organizations that benefited include:
- Nueva Vida clinic, Nicaragua
- Habitat for Humanity
- Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore
- Society of St. Vincent de Paul
- Area food pantries
- Sunrise Detox Center
- Lakewood Chamber of Commerce
- Monmouth–Ocean Development Council
- Area school districts
Community Service Takes Many Forms
GCU was founded by the Sisters of Mercy, whose charism also requires them to take a vow of service. Georgian Court, which also embraces the five Mercy core values of service, compassion, respect, integrity, and justice, encourages volunteerism through its general education curriculum, student organizations, campus outreach, and in employees’ personal lives.
“We are proud to know that we have contributed to our community—locally and globally—in ways that speak the truth of Mercy,” says Ms. Quinn.
Earlier this year, the GCU Lions won the NCAA’s Helper Helper community service competition. It is the second year in a row that GCU athletes were involved with more than 20 organizations and logged more service hours than any other Division II organization in the country. Throughout the year, GCU student-athletes invested upward of 13,000 service hours to help others.
Some of those hours were donated to Vincent’s Legacy, a furniture ministry sponsored by the Society of St. Vincent DePaul in nearby Belmar, New Jersey. Over the course of 10 Saturdays, the GCU men’s soccer team picked up, moved, and delivered gently used beds, dressers, sofas, tables, housewares, and other items to more than 50 area families.
For GCU student-athlete Arturo Sanchez, serving Vincent’s Legacy was unforgettable.
“It makes you realize what you have and that as you grow and extend your arms toward others, you are giving them the ability to grow with you,” he says. “You realize the power you have to make an impact on people’s lives.”
Service to Others Through Passion, Purpose
GCU graduate student Kelly Newcombe spent several weeks living and working in a poor Costa Rican village. The aspiring educator, who also volunteered there in 2014, provided recreation and fitness services and assisted with classroom teaching.
And Jo Ann Cummings, Ph.D., an advanced practice pediatric nurse and GCU assistant professor of nursing, is a member of the all-volunteer medical team at Parker Family Health Center in Red Bank, New Jersey. The free clinic serves about 10,000 uninsured people each year, including many from families living on the margins of society.
“The Parker Family Health setting really allows us to connect with patients in a way that they feel the care and compassion,” she says. “We treat them with dignity. Wherever I can make a difference and help out, I will.”