Students and faculty embraced the spirit of giving during Philanthropy Week, a four-day event that culminated in 82 pints of donated blood, 300 thank you cards mailed to veterans across the country, and the contribution of over 800 food items to stock the Student Food Pantry.
Campus divisions including student organizations, campus housing students, athletics, Greeks, and various departments of faculty and staff competed to donate the most food at the Anything But Cans food Drive on Thursday, Nov. 10.
The event was coordinated by Lion Legacy Association with the intention of adding variety to the pantry’s food selection.
Faculty and staff won the competition by a large margin. The Environmental Health and Safety Department was awarded a first place trophy for donating 162 items.
Other major contributors included the Office of Multicultural and International Student Affairs, Physical Plant Services, Sims Memorial Library, and National Student Speech Language Hearing Association.
“The food drive helped collect day-to-day staples we are always in need of,” said Brendan Daigle, coordinator for the Office of Multicultural and International Student Affairs. “Food items like peanut butter, pasta, fruit cups and crackers always go fast.”
According to Daigle, the Student Food Pantry opened just before Thanksgiving break in 2013, after research indicated the lack of food services over holidays was detrimental to the well-being of international students living on campus.
“We conducted research and found that 60 percent of students surveyed said they or someone they knew struggled to obtain food,” Daigle said.
For the past three years, the Student Food Pantry has served the needs of both international and domestic students. Daigle said it has had a large impact on campus, and several students have expressed gratitude for the services.
In addition to stocking the Student Food Pantry, students also participated in a blood drive sponsored by The Blood Center.
The drive collected 82 pints of blood. Those who donated had a chance to win one of four door prizes, including a wireless Bluetooth headset, an Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa voice control and two $50 Visa gift cards.
According to Debbie Ainsworth, account representative for The Blood Center, Southeastern has hosted seven drives and collected 334 pints of blood thus far in 2016. She said she considers blood donation a philanthropic practice.
“We don’t take monetary donations, but the blood is of monetary value to our patients,” she said. “We regularly do replacement drives for people in the community. For each unit of blood donated, a $10 credit is awarded to our patients. This is 100 percent, absolutely, unequivocally, about giving back to the community.”
While the blood and food donations benefitted the local community, another event promoted giving back on a national scale. In honor of Veterans Day, students and faculty wrote thank you cards to veterans and enjoyed complimentary hamburgers and hotdogs.
All 300 thank you cards were filled out by the end of the event. Olivia Habetz, student philanthropy coordinator, said the event attracted a lot of interest and showed the best side of human nature.
“A lot of people chose to write cards without taking any food in return,” Habetz said. “I was surprised by how many people thanked us for putting on the event.”