Penn State students participate in day of service in Fayette County

Students and staff gather at Penn State Fayette and talk about societal issues.

Penn State students and staff members gather at Penn State Fayette and talk about societal issues.

Credit: Penn State

LEMONT FURNACE, Pa. — Twenty-one students from Penn State Fayette, Beaver, Greater Allegheny and Shenango volunteered for community service in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, in tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. Several staff members in southwestern Pennsylvania organized this regional event.

Students began their day of service at Penn State Fayette by watching King’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, in which he expressed hope for a future where people are judged by their character, not race. Afterwards, the students talked about societal issues they would like to see ameliorated, such as homelessness, substance abuse and unnecessary violence.

Following this, the students separated into groups and lent aid to Connellsville Area Community Ministries, City Mission of Uniontown, Mary House Inc., and the Children’s Closet, established through the Ladies of Charity; these organizations received help with painting, cleaning, organization donations, and manual labor.

“While [those tasks] may seem mundane to some, I recognize the impact they can have on those in need,” said Noelle Bodenheimer, a fourth-year student studying corporate communication from Connellsville, Pennsylvania. “Participating in community service work is not just about the tangible tasks; it is about the connections created, the sense of community strengthened, and the shared commitment to making a difference.”

Justin Byers, a third-year business management and marketing major from Uniontown, Pennsylvania, said, “It was a lot of physical work, but it felt good having an impact on those in need. I couldn’t have carried those pallets without my partners, Josh Heller and Zachary Cuteri. I’m happy to volunteer my time helping others, and I look forward to more of these opportunities.”