Student organizations give back for holiday season

Woman As Hero is one of many student organizations that is collecting donations this holiday season. The group has set up stations around campus where the ASU community can donate clothes and apparel that will go to women refugees. (Photo by Jessie Wardarski)

Holidays at ASU means it’s a time for family, friends, winter break and, for some, a time to give back to the community.

Changemaker Central student director Kaitlyn Fitzgerald, a global studies and public policy sophomore, said she has seen student community service increase during this holiday season.

“Holidays tend to remind us to give back,” Fitzgerald said.

Changemaker Central is a student-led University initiative designed to promote community service at ASU and provide students with opportunities to serve.

“Service is a great way to ensure members of our community are blessed as well,” Fitzgerald said.

Changemaker’s student leaders adopted a family through an ASU program and raised more than $100 to buy the family gifts, she said.

They have also helped promote service projects sponsored by other student organizations across the four campuses.

Overall, there has been an increase in community service at ASU during the past semester, Fitzgerald said.

Although community service levels usually drop after the holidays, Fitzgerald said she hopes ASU students continue to understand the value of community service.

“I think we’re going to see a steady (increase) of service-centered culture building up around ASU,” she said.

One organization, Woman as Hero, which is dedicated to empowering women and girls locally and around the world, is collecting toiletries and women’s clothing for the Refugee Women’s Health Clinic in Phoenix until Friday.

Journalism and global studies senior Nesima Aberra, president of the organization, said the refugees the clinic helps mostly come from Somalia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Burma and Eritrea.

“It’s just a very vulnerable population,” she said. “They need that empowerment and support.”

The boxes for donations are located in the Barrett, the Honors College Academic Complex and at Changemaker Central, Aberra said.

Circle K International, the college version of the community service organization, Kiwanis, volunteered with the Salvation Army and is planning to write letters to Santa to support Macy’s Believe campaign.

Chinese senior Erin Lin, who has been the president of CKI at ASU for two years, said Macy’s will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for every letter to Santa it receives.

Food banks usually need the most help at this time of year, Lin said.

“There is always a need,” Lin said.  “It’s important to give during this time.”

CKI put on an event called Castles of Cans on Hayden Lawn in November as part of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, Lin said.

Ten different ASU organizations built “castles” out of food cans and together gathered 1,550 pounds of items to donate.

The ASU hockey team held a toy drive benefiting Phoenix Children’s Hospital that ended Sunday, and many Greek organizations have also sponsored holiday-related community service events.

Alpha Epsilon Pi is collecting playthings and donations for Toys for Tots Foundation and the American Cancer Society.

Business junior Alexander Simone, a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi, said his fraternity hopes to collect 200 toys.

They are looking for unused toys worth more than $10, Simone said.

“It’s the holiday season,” Simone said. “It’s time for people to start giving.”


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