For the past twelve months, the Psychological Association of Penn State McKeesport has become an active force in establishing community relationships and serving local agencies with their volunteer efforts.
Under the leadership of club President, Kacie Thomas, relationships have been formed with Womansplace, a haven for abused women and their children in the McKeesport area, and Auberle, an agency which serves troubled youth and their families. The club and its membership, approximately ten Applied Psychology majors, have also assisted with a campus book sale which benefited the Penn State McKeesport Kelly Library.
The first ever Day of Unity was the club's first activity. Partnering with Womansplace, the Psychological Association brought domestic violence to the attention of the campus. Organizing the Clothesline project in the Student Community Center, students, staff and faculty designed original T-shirts to express how violence affects them individually. This project was followed by a "Take Back the Night/Day of Unity" which included a program of community speakers, skits, a march through campus and a candlelight vigil. All of the activities focused on increasing the campus's and the community's awareness of the domestic violence issue.
During December, the club organized a "Santa's Workshop" at Auberle, to raise money so that the children housed at Auberle could buy inexpensive gifts for their family members. Students sold homemade Christmas ornaments and solicited gifts from the community. Over 150 items were donated by the faculty, staff and students at Penn State McKeesport for the activity. Psychology Association members organized the workshop on site at Auberle and assisted the children in selecting and purchasing gifts. Participants included Crystal Carroll, Alacia Eicher, Laurie Kozarian, and Kacie Thomas.
As its third project, students in the Association assisted the campus librarian to organize and conduct the campus library's annual book fair. Used books, tapes, CD's, etc were solicited from the campus community for resale. Over $300 was raised to purchase additional materials for the library with the help of student volunteers.
As its fourth project to date, the Psychological Association is again partnering with Auberle for the 2006 Home Olympics. The Olympics, hosted by Auberle at Carnegie Mellon University, is an annual, nationwide event for at-risk children. More than 350 children will compete at the CMU campus for medals in track and field, basketball, softball, volleyball, soccer and swimming. The campus association is helping by collecting items for the children's gift bags. The participants in the Olympics will take home the bags as a remembrance of their time in Pittsburgh. Donations were solicited from the campus community for items with a Pittsburgh theme.
The campus Psychological Association is advised by Penn State McKeesport faculty member, Dr. Elizabeth Mazur, Associate Professor of Psychology. Chartered by the campus's Student Government Association in 2005, the organization plans on applying to Psi Chi, the national honor society in psychology, to form a local chapter.
For more information, contact Dr. Mazur: [email protected].