The University of San Diego is a bustling campus community of activity this week. Final exam preparation, projects, papers and presentations and 24/7 Copley Library availability means a busy and potentially stressful time for students.
That, however, doesn’t mean that the campus community neglects another very important, very worthy aspect of this time of year. It’s the holiday season, a time when the best present is giving back and helping others around us.
That said, this is a reminder for all that this is the last week for most of USD’s holiday donation drives to collect items for giving.
Large boxes are stationed at the main entrance and common area of the School of Business Administration’s Olin Hall and at the west-end Coronado building to accept donations of new toys for less-fortunate children. Boxes are also located in USD’s Human Resources office (Maher Hall 101), College of Arts and Sciences’ Dean’s Office (Founders Hall 114), Jenny Craig Pavilion athletic training room and the main athletics administration office. All toy collections will be accepted through Thursday, Dec. 13, 4 p.m., according to Whitney Strain, assistant director of compliance and student services in USD Athletics.
Ky Snyder, USD’s executive director of athletics, said one of the best aspects of a student-athlete’s experience is the opportunity for a well-rounded education at USD. Giving back is an essential component. Teams annually participate in events that raise awareness of breast cancer, juvenile diabetes, health and wellness, contribute to tutoring projects, support local community centers and more. During the holiday season, Torero sports teams work together to support families to provide some heartfelt holiday cheer.
“When I talk to recruits and parents, I tell them that their son or daughter is going to get a great formal education at USD, but what we hope to do through community service and other activities we’re involved in is to find out how that applies,” Snyder said. “This lets our student-athletes take a look and find out ‘what do they care about other than themselves?’ If they haven’t figured that out yet, let’s expose them to enough that it really broadens their horizon and they get to figure out who they are, what makes them tick and where their place in the world is really going to be.”
Students for Life, an organization connected through University Ministry, has been busy this season, too. They’re currently collecting personal care items, clothing and more through this week to support women survivors of human trafficking, said Mary Kruer, associate minister in University Ministry. She added that items will be packaged and presented at the end of this week.
USD’s Greek Life organizations are always in the spirit of giving back and often it is done through fun and innovative ways. Alpha Delta Pi, for instance, is hosting “Strut for a Cause,” a fashion show event that will support the Ronald McDonald House. The event is tonight (Dec. 11) at 7:30 p.m. in the UC Forums, has a $5 admission.
The university’s impact within its own Linda Vista community is felt year-round at Bayside Community Center. Students, staff and faculty members from USD contribute as tutors, volunteer support and staff on a myriad of activities, projects and serving as community board members.
Ilana Lopez, program director for USD’s Center for Awareness, Service and Action (CASA), said USD students are doing what they can to help support and to promote the center’s programs, including its Holiday Adopt-A-Senior. Donations are accepted with personal care items, flashlights, slippers, socks, gift cards, food items and crossword puzzle books and more. The deadline to give to this program is Friday, Dec. 14.
— Ryan T. Blystone