MCS Fall Day of Service: Advancing Carnegie Mellon University's Commitment to Civic Engagement

On Oct. 7, the Mellon College of Science (MCS) embraced a new tradition by hosting its inaugural MCS-SLICE Day of Service. This inspiring event was a product of collaboration between the Mellon College of Science and the Student Leadership, Involvement, and Civic Engagement office, affectionately known as SLICE. The day was a testament to the university's commitment to community service and fostering a spirit of civic engagement among its students, faculty, and staff.

Carnegie Mellon students, faculty, and staff united to make a meaningful impact on the local Pittsburgh community by volunteering at various sites throughout the area. Among the organizations that benefited from their collective efforts were The Education Partnership, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Hazelwood YMCA, and Prevention Point Pittsburgh.

Students were encouraged to foster a deeper connection to the city of Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Mellon community. They were also challenged to articulate the mission and purpose of the community partners they collaborated with, ensuring a mutual understanding of the importance of their service work. Additionally, the program aimed to instill a desire within students to continue participating in civic engagement programming, emphasizing the importance of ongoing community service.

One of the sites, The Education Partnership, has a clear mission of providing school supplies to students and teachers in under-resourced schools across Southwestern Pennsylvania. Through their Teacher Resource Center, STEAM Hub, and Adopt-A-School Programs, they have become a vital resource for 191 local schools in eight counties.

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, on the other hand, is dedicated to protecting and restoring the region's natural beauty. They work tirelessly to provide clean waters, healthy forests, and natural areas for the benefit of present and future generations. Their conservation efforts, spanning over nine decades, have preserved more than a quarter million acres of exceptional natural places.

Hazelwood YMCA, a cherished institution in the community, plays a crucial role in promoting healthier lives for individuals and the Pittsburgh region as a whole. Their outreach programs extend beyond their walls, touching upon child welfare, community health, job training, environmental education, quality of life, and family services, making a profound impact on the Hazelwood community.

Prevention Point Pittsburgh (PPP), a nonprofit organization, is devoted to offering health empowerment services to individuals who use drugs. Their mission is to reduce the risks associated with drug use and the transmission of diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C, through harm reduction strategies and overdose prevention.

Megan Lloyd, the Assistant Director of the Office of Student Leadership, Involvement, and Civic Engagement, emphasized the importance of the Fall Day of Service as a platform for students to translate the core values of MCS education into tangible community support. Lloyd also noted, "Participating in programs such as the Fall Day of Service gives students the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the Pittsburgh community and what it means for them to be a member of that community during their time as a student. Students are able to understand the vital work community-based organizations are doing in Pittsburgh and spend time helping these organizations further their mission through direct service projects."

Ken Hovis, Associate Teaching Professor and MCS Assistant Dean for Educational Initiatives expressed the value of the partnership between MCS and the SLICE office. Hovis also emphasized, "The benefits of building relationships and community within MCS as they serve alongside other MCS students, faculty, and staff at the various locations highlight the importance and value of giving back and serving the local community as future scientists and mathematicians."

The inaugural MCS-SLICE Day of Service was not only a remarkable display of commitment to the community but also a testament to the transformative power of collaboration between students, faculty, and staff. As these dedicated individuals continue to serve alongside each other and within the Pittsburgh community, the impact of their collective efforts will resonate for years to come. Carnegie Mellon University remains resolute in its mission to inspire its students to become active and globally engaged citizens, making a positive difference in the world.