University Employees Embody the Ignatian Spirit
Part of the University of Scranton’s mission is to be men and women for others. That philosophy is reflected in the community service performed by many staff and faculty throughout our campus.
Each year the Office of Community Relations collects information on volunteerism through its Community Service Input Form. It is a tool that is used to track and report on this work. “It celebrates what they are doing,” said Julie Schumacher Cohen, director of community and government relations.
In 2013, nearly 60 faculty and staff completed the survey. The data showed that faculty and staff perform an average of 7 hours of service activities per month. They worked with 63 different organizations. 36% of respondents serve on a community Board of Directors or Committee. 32% provided free instruction, training, advising or spoke to the community; 17% taught a service learning course; 13% conducted community-based research; 29% helped coordinate a community program. Their top reasons for participating in service included: (1) personal interest (79%), (2) religious belief (38%) and (3) Jesuit mission (34%), indicating that the University of Scranton’s Catholic and Jesuit character and mission are a key motivating factor in how faculty and staff engage with the community.
Here are just a few examples of the time and talent being offered by University employees:
Supervisor of Electrical/Mechanical Trades is Longtime Steward of the Environment
Timothy Barrrett has been interested in environmental issues since his teenage years. For the past 15 years, he has been a volunteer with the Lackawanna River Corridor Association. Mr. Barrett, supervisor of electrical/mechanical trades at the University, coordinates river site cleanups and serves on the LRCA board and its executive and fundraising committees. He joined the group after his retirement from a 20-year Navy career and subsequent return to Scranton. Of his early days with the LRCA, he says: “I enjoyed the work and received a feeling of great reward upon accomplishing each task.”
Over the past 25 years, the LRCA has taken the river “from what was once known as a dumping ground for industrial waste and sewage to now a cleaner, better and safer place for recreation, trophy trout fishing and casual enjoyment,” he says.
Financial Aid Staff Member Helps Within Her Community and Her Profession
In her 35 years in the financial aid field, Margaret F. Hynosky has always made time for service work connected to her community and her job. As the University’s Associate Director of Financial Aid, she volunteers at high school financial aid nights to explain the process to families. She also is a senator in the Staff Senate, a member of various Senate committees and is active in state professional organizations. “Volunteering within my profession and at work helps me share what I know to help others,” she says.
Mrs. Hynosky also volunteers at the annual Christmas Day Breakfast and outside of work, with Ballet Theatre of Scranton and Mary, Mother of God Parish. “One of the reasons I volunteer is to give back to the community and help make it stronger and more welcoming,” she says. “When we help others, we get to know ourselves and others better. Hopefully this will help us in knowing God a little better and bring us closer to Him.”
Associate Athletic Director Devotes Himself to Youth Sports
For most of his adult life Stephen L. Klingman has given much of his time to youth sports. He has been on the Abington Youth Soccer League board for 30 years, with duties like recruiting and training coaches and maintaining fields. He is also involved with Abington Travel Soccer and Abington Youth Baseball, a commitment in which he spends several hours a week cutting grass and various baseball fields. “My motivation is simple,” says Mr. Klingman, the University’s associate athletic director. “I love coaching various sports and working with all levels of athletes. I truly enjoy working with the young athletes to get them started in the right direction.”
He believes his service ties in with the University’s mission. “Obviously part of the mission of the University is to serve others. Our University population, whether it be students, staff or faculty, truly care about helping others.”
Associate Professor of Nursing Supports Women Through Service
Patricia L. Wright’s work in the nursing field serves her well in her volunteerism. An associate professor of nursing, she is the founder of Pushing On: Support for Moms, a local support group for women who have experienced a pregnancy loss. Dr. Wright also sits on the board of the Domestic Violence Center, which supports victims of domestic violence. She also volunteers at a free clinic for the uninsured and within her church. “Serving others is part of my faith tradition, and it is my way of putting my beliefs into action,” she says. “I try to consider the skills I have been given and use them in ways that are helpful to others.”
Dr. Wright says her service work relates closely to the University’s social justice mission. “My service promotes the dignity of women who are poorly supported after pregnancy loss or are escaping from violent circumstances. My work in the free clinic supports the preferential treatment of the poor and promotes social justice.”
Academic Advisor Inspired by Mother Theresa
For the past four years Philip Yevics has been a volunteer with the Prison Ministry at Lackawanna County Prison. Every week he visits inmates there, which he views as “a weekly opportunity to encounter Christ with an authenticity and intensity that I only rarely experience elsewhere.”
“Visiting the prison has become an important part of my own spiritual life,” says Mr. Yevics, an academic advisor in the College of Graduate and Continuing Education, and an adjunct instructor of theology and religious studies. His work at the prison stems from an event nearly 40 years ago, when he heard Mother Theresa speak. “She spoke of her own community’s decision to serve those who were most neglected by society,” he recalls. “She also challenged all of her audience to look for such opportunities for service in their own communities.”
Mr. Yevics is also deeply involved with the Byzantine Catholic Church, particularly as a cantor and Bible study leader. He has also made a service trip to El Salvador and is involved with the National Convocation of Jail and Prison Ministry and the Lackawanna County Task Force on Re-entry.