Over one hundred students turned out to pledge their names and commitment to the President’s Volunteer Team at the orientation held on Monday, September 16th.

The initiative, which launched two years ago, serves as a way for St. Mary’s University to signal that giving back is a key part of the university’s mission for everyone on campus – from students, to staff and right up to the President.

The President’s Volunteer Team mission is to connect and increase volunteer opportunities that address community needs and develop a lifetime commitment to service and St. Mary’s President, Dr. Gerry Turcotte believes that this inititative really brings the entire community together.

“The whole St. Mary’s University motto is really giving back to the community – social justice and service and for us this is one way of putting ourselves where our values are,” said Dr. Turcotte. “The great thing about it is that it captures everybody, students, staff and faculty. It really is about bringing people together.”

The turnout for the orientation and the numerous email RSVP’s by those interested in pledging their service is a sign to Dr. Turcotte that the St. Mary’s community is living the school’s values.

First-year psychology student Olivia Ruggerio was introduced to the President’s Volunteer Team at New Student Orientation this year and immediately felt that like it was something she wanted to pursue.

“I didn’t know much about the President’s Volunteer Team until I came to the New Student Orientation and I learned about some of the things that they do with the team and I was really interested and I wanted to get involved volunteering,” said Ruggiero. “I just want to help people.”

There are two major ideas that Dr. Turcotte hopes to achieve through these acts of service: to make a lasting impact and to develop acts of behaviour.

“This is a way to remind people that when you volunteer that you do it, not just for yourself so that you feel better, but you really make a difference in the world and hopefully volunteers are setting a pattern of behavior that will continue when students leave here.”

To date the President’s Volunteer Team has been able to support major volunteering initiatives ranging from Habitat For Humanity, to Feed the Hungry to Inn from the Cold and many more, with other compelling opportunities scheduled for the 2019-20 school year.