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“It made me realize that it [event planning] is something I can do and am good at.” - Genevieve Branning ’07

Genevieve Branning ’07, Katie Puma ’07 and Kara Wander ’07 all hope to explore occupations in event planning, so when their instructor, Marian Wolbers, asked if they would be interested in some hands-on, pro bono public relations work, they jumped at the opportunity.

Branning, Puma and Wander planned and executed an event for the Miss Greater Berks County Scholarship Organization (MGBCSO) to thank donors and raise funds for the organization. They secured the location, planned the entertainment, ordered the refreshments, approached local businesses for donations to the silent auction and set up onsite. Marilyn Baver, MGBCSO co-director, calls the students “my three little angels.”

“They made the event enjoyable for everyone,” Baver says. They also secured items for the silent auction that contributed to substantial donations for scholarships.

But the students got a lot out of the experience as well, including hands-on learning that can’t be taught from a book. Branning says, “It made me realize that it [event planning] is something I can do and am good at.”

While all three say that it was a challenge to balance classes, work and planning the event, they were determined to make it be a big hit. “I knew how hard these girls participating in the ‘pageant’ worked to get to where they were,” says Puma. “I wanted to be able to give a little something back to them.” 

Kelly Cross '08 / photo: John Pankratz

Kelly Cross ’08 didn’t like the negative view that those in the neighborhood surrounding the College had of the average Albright College student. She knew it was an inaccurate perception and wanted to change the community’s outlook. So, she and a bunch of students picked up rakes and shovels and got to work.

After a little raking in the neighborhood, Cross and friends began working with Snow Stoppers, a part of the Volunteer Home Care program provided by Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries.

The volunteers of Snow Stoppers are paired with an elderly person each winter. When it snows, the volunteer goes out and clears a pathway to the front door of his or her partner’s home. Click here to view a segment from channel 69 on Snow Stoppers.

“It’s a chance for them [the neighbors] to meet the students and get to know us,” says Cross.

As a part of Snow Stoppers, 30 students signed on to shovel snow from Hampton Boulevard to Pike Street to 13th Street, which is part of the College Heights neighborhood by Albright. “Diakon was really impressed,” says Cross. “They expected 10 people and we have 30!”

Over the winter the group was put to work several times. “We went out to shovel about three or four times, pretty much every time it snowed or iced…we received positive responses,” says Cross.  “It was a very rewarding experience for all who participated!”

Cross says she is pleased with the impact Albright students have had and she can’t wait to get started again next year. “I am extremely grateful to all of them [those who helped] because it set a precedent that things can happen as long as you have a great support system, and we definitely have that here at Albright College.”

“We went out to shovel about three or four times, pretty much every time it snowed or iced…” – Kelly Cross ’08

Ryan Baumuller ’08 and Shea Stevens ’09, brothers of Alpha Sigma Phi

If a vision of the movie Animal House comes to mind when you think of fraternity life, think again. At Albright, enhancing the Greek image by contributing to the needs of those both on- and off-campus is the reality.

Alpha Sigma Phi brothers Ryan Baumuller ’08, fundraising chair, and Shea Stevens ’09, community service chair, work hard to provide their brothers with lots of opportunities to give back.

They’ve collected 350 pounds of food for the Greater Berks Food Bank and hundreds of dollars for Canine Companions, the fraternity’s national philanthropy. They’ve walked dogs for the Humane Society and cleaned up debris at Blue Marsh. As community service chair, Stevens says his goal is “to have a variety of events so my brothers can all participate and enjoy their service.”

So far, both Baumuller and Stevens agree that their favorite community service project has been participating in the Snowstoppers program organized by classmate Kelly Cross ’08. Through Snowstoppers, the Alpha Sigma Phi brothers helped to shovel the walks of elderly neighbors who live near the Albright campus. “The people’s reactions were the best,” says Baumuller. “They were like, ‘What? I don’t have to pay you [to shovel]?’” Stevens agrees that the responses they received were overwhelming. “The people we shoveled out were just so grateful.”

In the upcoming months, Alpha Sigma Phi will participate in the Out of the Darkness Walk to Prevent Suicide held in New York City in June and will begin work with Habitat for Humanity in the fall.

“It’s nice to be in a fraternity, hang out with your brothers and do something positive too,” says Stevens. 

“It’s nice to be in a fraternity, hang out with your brothers and do something positive too.” - Shea Stevens ’09

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