A Semester of Service at the University of Scranton

SCRANTON -- College students in our area are gearing up for the semester ahead. At the University of Scranton on Tuesday, hundreds of students planned the work they will do outside of the classroom.

In between classes, hundreds of University of Scranton students made their way to the hustle and bustle. It may look like a job fair but the work being offered doesn't pay.

More than 80 different agencies and organizations came to ask students for help.

"Our agency is heavily volunteer run," said Ashley Murray of Dress for Success Lackawanna. "We have some employees but we use our volunteers in a lot of ways. It was at one point just volunteer run, so we really utilize them."

To the agencies, the students are a resource while the agencies help some of these students get credit for classes. Several of the university's programs require students to complete hours of community service.

"Every year, I've done service," said senior Erin Finnerty.  "Last year, I had an internship. This year, I'm with CAC as an intern. I think it's really important. I love that as a counseling major, we're required to do service hours. It flies by, you do it without even thinking because it's enjoyable and it's something that you know is helping the community."

Still, we found plenty of students who weren't required to attend the service fair, the kind of kids that may have helped the University of Scranton get a special kind of recognition.

Scranton was ranked by the Princeton Review as a top-20 school for service and volunteerism. Appreciated, but not surprising to students.

"No actually, I think a lot of people like to do, get involved, and there's so many great opportunities in the Scranton area so that doesn't really surprise me because I think that's just the nature of all the students here," said sophomore Julia Decker.

"I think that's just really a testament to our Jesuit ideals here at Scranton," said sophomore Kellie Smiegel. "I think everyone's really helpful and everyone just wants to get out and get involved in the community."

A testament that sometimes the greatest lessons are learned outside of the classroom.