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No news is good news
Collegian acknowledges campus's unsung heroes

The content that we run in the Collegian is a direct reflection of university news and events, as well as the city that encompasses our campus. Recently, many of our articles have reported on key speakers who have come to campus, disciplinary measures taken against university organizations or breaking news citywide. As a newspaper, it is our job to bring the reader these stories because of the importance this information holds for our community.

It is an unfortunate fact of news reporting that many newsworthy stories tend to be negative. The students and faculty at this university, however, should also desire to be in "the know" about much more than just the latest lurid campus happenings. As a Christian Brothers school, this university was founded on dedication to teaching and serving, which many students live up to regardless of how much recognition they receive.

While the pages of last week's Collegian highlighted travel study classes that went abroad for spring break to Brazil, Vietnam, Ireland and other countries, was the university at large also aware that approximately 40 students devoted their spring break to working in Harlan, Ky.? The participants of Project Appalachia worked on building homes for those in need. This service trip, one that students actually pay their own money to be a part of, is one of four service trips that La Salle sponsors. These trips send students on domestic and international stints of service.

In May, La Salle's chapters of Habitat for Humanity, Los Niņos and Project Mapendo will send students to Louisiana, Mexico and Tanzania, respectively, for anywhere from one to three weeks in the service of others. Yet, these contributions to the community go largely unpublicized and underappreciated.

Service trips are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to community service at La Salle. Even organizations that are not based solely on community service do perform numerous acts of kindness within our community for which they should be and have been commended. These organizations should not, however, be the only ones recognized.

As a community that is supposed to pride itself on Christian values, it seems that we have forgotten our roots. In addition to SGA and Inter-Fraternity-Sorority Council community service events, which are on display and celebrated across campus, we must not forget the valiant efforts of our community service-based groups, which may be smaller in size, but not in heart. Students who spend every week going to soup kitchens, making meals for the elderly, tutoring neighborhood students, or fundraising and spending their own money in order to help others through service trips can easily be forgotten in the shuffle or overlooked because of the constancy of their projects. As a community and a religious campus, we will be doing a tremendous injustice to our fellow students and surrounding community if we continue to let this happen.

So, what can we do? As an individual as well as a member of the La Salle community there are two steps one can take to not only acknowledge the work of community servants that surround us but to also become involved oneself.

Step 1: Be aware of what other students are doing. Community service is a large part of La Salle, and University Ministry and Service (UMAS) sponsors numerous groups that are involved in a variety of projects. And, the best way to increase awareness of community service projects is to ask someone who is involved in them about their work.

Step 2: Get involved. As members of the La Salle community, each of us should try to give back and be thankful for the opportunity we have at this university.

UMAS is a great way to do that. A wide range of service organizations exist under UMAS. You can also get involved through organizations that you may already belong to, through various sponsors, events or partnerships with charity in the city.

La Salle will also be a host site for the second Annual Philly Spring Clean Up on Saturday, April 4. Participants will help restore areas near La Salle's campus.

The tradition of community service here at La Salle is rich and thriving, even though it has remained largely unknown among this campus community. And the stories of these everyday students who do extraordinary work will not always find their place in the pages of the Collegian or among the press releases on the Web site. They can, however, serve as influential members of our community that we can all try be a part of in one way or another. It is through our awareness and active participation that community service will remain an integral part of our community. It is our hope that these efforts receive the university's constant support and salutation for their work. They are truly the definition of what it means to be Lasallian.

La Salle University
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