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University Honors Program

Rooted in Service

By Emma Kapp

Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to reflect and be grateful for the blessings in life. This season is also a time to give back and serve. For junior Elizabeth Collins, though, giving back isn’t just a seasonal activity: it’s a way of life.

 Collins is currently president of St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP) on campus. She has been involved with the organization since her first year at UD but has been connected to the Vincentians before arriving.

 “I had a personal connection with the organization having gone to Vincentian Academy in Pittsburgh where St. Vincent de Paul was our patron saint,” Collins explains. “I also loved doing service in high school and wanted to continue in college.”

 The mission of SVDP is “to grow in spirituality and friendship, providing Christ-inspired person-to-person support in an empowering effort to improve the lives of those in personal, spiritual or material need.” Collins and other group members seek to carry out this spirit by volunteering at the Emmanuel Food Pantry, providing lunch at Gateway Men’s Shelter and helping with laundry at the women’s shelter.

 For Collins, however, the most meaningful SVDP service project is visits to people who are homebound. Because of her experiences with the visits, she has a better appreciation and understanding of what it means to serve.

 “I have learned the concept of service is continual. SVDP does a wonderful job emphasizing that the relationship you have with another individual in need is equally, if not more, important than the physical act of serving,” she said.

 Through these relationships, UD’s SVDP chapter is inspiring change. Collins hopes the effects of her organization’s actions will be impactful and meaningful.  

 “Our club hopes to continue building relationships with the members of the organization and community members in Dayton,” she said. “We want people to become more aware of the extreme poverty some individuals are living in right in our backyard and how volunteering for a few hours on a weekend can make an impact in the community.”

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