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On Campus Philanthropies Welcome Volunteers Year Round

Last weekend, the year-long efforts of thousands of Penn State students culminated in THON Weekend, which raised more than $13.3 million for the Four Diamonds Fund. But just because THON is over doesn’t mean that Penn State students have to wait until next year to continue to make a difference.

Penn State has many philanthropic organizations on campus, most of which encourage volunteers to get involved year-round. We compiled a list of a few of these organizations in order to help students to continue to make the world a better place all year long.

Global Water Brigades

Penn State Global Water Brigades was created in 2010 and works to help developing countries improve access to clean water and sanitation. Global Water Brigades volunteers travel to developing countries and work with water experts and local leaders to design and construct water systems to give communities access to clean water and sanitation. They also spend part of their time in these developing countries helping children learn about water-related health and conservation.

The Penn State chapter of Global Water Brigades traveled to Ghana over winter break this year and plans to travel there again over spring break. Regardless of year or major, students can get involved in Global Water Brigades by attending meetings at 6 p.m. on Sundays in 102 Thomas or visiting the Penn State Global Water Brigades website for more information.

Circle K

Circle K is an international organization that promotes service and leadership. Volunteers for Circle K participate in various service projects both on campus and in the surrounding community. Projects include fundraising, volunteering at the State College Food Bank, helping out at the children’s library, and so much more. Circle K members also participate in other Penn State activities such as THON and Homecoming.

In order to be considered an “active member,” volunteers must complete at least 15 hours of service throughout the year, attend meetings, and pay dues, but students don’t have to be active members in order to get involved. Meetings for Circle K take place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays in 018 Henderson, and all students are welcomed.

Active Minds

As a part of the national organization of the same name, Active Minds at Penn State works to educate students about mental health and encourage open dialogue about mental health issues. Active Minds provides mental health resources for students and holds discussions and other events throughout the year to help increase mental health awareness.

Meetings are held Tuesdays from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in 233 HUB, and donations can be made through their website.

Student United Way

The Penn State Student United Way works with the Centre County United Way to benefit the State College community through various fundraisers and programs. Members of the Penn State SUW work within the local community to raise money for disaster relief, provide human services, and much more. The Student United Way also hosts the annual Trash To Treasure sale, where donated items are sold to raise money for Centre County United Way.

All students are welcomed to attend bi-weekly meetings on Mondays at 7 p.m. in 307 Boucke and can contact Chelsea ([email protected]) or Julia ([email protected]) for more information.

Dear Hero Program

Founded in 2010 by a few USMC girlfriends and an Army daughter, the Dear Hero Program provides students with a way to show support for the troops through letters, care packages, and community involvement. The Dear Hero Program is devoted to raising morale of deployed troops and providing support for wounded veterans, and it has worked with local girl scouts, churches, and other Penn State organizations in their efforts to raise money, awareness, and support for the program. Dear Hero Program volunteers have also participated in training to become volunteers at the local VA hospital.

Any students are encouraged to attend meetings on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. in 103 BBH Building or contact [email protected] for additional information.

Habitat For Humanity

Habitat For Humanity seeks to provide decent housing for those in poverty by building houses and rehabilitating existing houses. Through the use of donated materials and money and volunteer labor, Habitat For Humanity works with homeowners to construct or rebuild houses. Although Habitat houses are not completely free and homeowners work to help build them, they are a more affordable option for those with low incomes. Throughout the year, Habitat volunteers participate in service days, fundraisers, and trips in order to help the cause.

This year, Penn State Habitat For Humanity plans to travel to locations in Florida, South Carolina, and Oklahoma. Those looking to help out with Habitat For Humanity can volunteer their time by helping to build houses, attending events, and helping out with fundraisers, or donate supplies or money through the Habitat For Humanity website.

Clown Nose Club

The Clown Nose Club is known for donning their bright red clown noses to spread cheer across campus. This year was also the first year that The Clown Nose Club participated in THON. They operate based on the idea that people matter, and that positivity is contagious. Essentially, they spread positivity everywhere they go through events, random acts of kindness, and general cheeriness.

Students can attend several large group meetings throughout the semester, dates for which are posted on the Clown Nose Club Facebook and Twitter pages.


The Penn State chapter of UNICEF dedicates itself to raising funds and awareness for various UNICEF programs around the globe. UNICEF stands for United Nations Children’s Fund, and as the name suggests, the programs created by the organization focus on helping children by providing them with education, health care, clean water, nutrition, and more.

Penn State’s branch of UNICEF holds fundraisers and other events throughout the year in hopes of improving the lives of children worldwide. Students can get involved by participating in events, attending meetings on Mondays at 7 p.m. in 205 Ferguson, or contacting [email protected].

Relay For Life

Relay For Life of Penn State works to raise money for the American Cancer Society, which provides emotional and financial support for cancer patients through the financing of several programs as well as life saving research. The event culminates in a 24-hour relay style walk-a-thon, and this year’s event is set to take place on April 5th at Medlar Field. Students and members of the Penn State community can get involved with Relay For Life by creating a team, fundraising, donating, and attending the event in April.

We undoubtedly missed several philanthropies. Please share in the comments if there is a charity you think should be included!

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About the Author

Anna Ungar

Penn State Class of 2015 Visual Communications major, Onward State photographer, THON 2014 Public Relations Captain, Camp Kesem of Penn State Marketing & PR Coordinator, anglophile, lover of chocolate milk, bows, cats, The Office, photography, Morgan Freeman, and british accents. Orders a side of pickles with everything.


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