Ceara Hogan, '17, prepares caesar salad for dinner at the Victory House. The Community Service Office in-person events are limited due to COVID-19, but they are still running the weekly visits to the Victory House. (Casey Farmer/B&W Staff)

Community Service Office adjusts to event restrictions

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Most in-person community service and philanthropy events have been restricted due to social-distancing guidelines, thus changing the way the Community Service Office and other organizations on campus plan for these events. 

Carolina Hernandez, the director of the Community Service Office, said the office has been planning both in-person and virtual events for the fall. 

“We are committed to providing in-person, meaningful engagement opportunities in very small groups with our local community partners,” Hernandez said. 

One of the in-person events they are still running is a trip to Victory House once a week to cook dinner for homeless veterans at the shelter. 

Hernandez said the office is committed to community engagement and is determined to realign and adapt its programming to meet the needs of the community during an unprecedented time.  

She said the office cultivated community engagement guidelines for the fall semester, which can be found on the university’s website listed through Student Affairs under “Programs and Guidelines.” 

We have an exceptional community in South Bethlehem and are following the on-the-ground experts on their lead,” Hernandez said. “Through the Community Service Office, our three South Bethlehem Community school coordinators have ensured that South Bethlehem families had access to meals and support.” 

Olivia LiPuma, the director of community service and philanthropy for Zeta Tau Alpha, said her sorority members have been volunteering throughout the Bethlehem community on a regular basis.  

She said the chapter had set requirements to ensure each member is contributing community service hours, but has been limited due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

“Our goal is to have members view this requirement as an opportunity to make connections within the community and build relationships with those who reside in and around Bethlehem,” LiPuma said. “We want everyone to feel connected to a cause.” 

Becca Landau, the philanthropy chair of Kappa Delta, said the sorority usually partners with the Girls Scouts of the USA and numerous smaller events. Landau also explained the events that they participate in are on pause, and most of these services would be difficult to execute virtually. 

LiPuma said Zeta Tau Alpha has planned a Making for Strides walk at Moravian College on Oct. 17 and are still planning to host their 5K to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness. She said she has also urged members to get involved with Community Service Office events.  

Landau said Kappa Delta has been working with the Community Service Office to find out how they can help the community. 

“Some events include participating in the South Side Clean Up, donating to the Hispanic Center and the Blood Drive, as well as many other opportunities,” Landau said. “As for our partnerships with Prevent Child Abuse America and the Girl Scouts, we will continue to work with them in any way we can.”

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1 Comment

  1. Bruce Haines ‘67 on

    Notice that it is Sororities & siliarly fraternities that have organized community service involvement. These are the same organizations that social justice people want to eliminate!!

    Independents typically have no commitment to anything but themselves. Historically it is the Fraternity & Sorrority people that maintain contact with Lehigh after graduation & are typically the bulk of the donors that support Lehigh.

    In addition, elimination of these organizations restricts the right of association provisions of the constitution.

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