Busy weekend ahead for YSU Honors College students

Nearly 250 Youngstown State University Honors College students will be spending their three-day weekend passing out food and clothing to Youngstown homeless, participating in a poverty simulation and taking part in service and team-building activities at an overnight Honors retreat this Sunday.

This is the second annual retreat for the Honors College, and the first to be partially funded through a grant award by Iowa Campus Compact for the MLK Day of Service Community Partnership Project.

“Our students will be making scarves, blankets, sleeping mats and cards of encouragement for the homeless, as well as delivering more than 2,000 pounds of canned food to the YSU Student Food Pantry and the Rescue Mission,” said Amy Cossentino, director of the Honors College. “They’ll also be participating in peace marches in Youngstown in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

The peace marches will be take place on Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. on South Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard in Youngstown. They are being organized by R. Mason Carratt, founder of American Food Forest, and include a warm-clothing and soup and sandwich giveaway to needy Youngstown residents. Honors students helped to collect donations across campus and in the community for both.

YSU Honors College students Briana Schumacher and Anthony Gresko sort a bread donation by Schwebel's - 250 loaves - to be used to make sandwiches for the Sunday food giveaway on South Avenue and MLK Boulevard.
Additional service projects and a poverty simulation activity hosted by Karla Krodel, director, Metro Credit Education Outreach, and YSU’s Bridges Out of Poverty Student Union, will drive the retreat’s evening events. The service projects—including crocheting plastic bags into water-proof sleeping mats, making scarves and blankets, and crafting cards of encouragement—center on hunger and homelessness awareness in the Mahoning Valley, a cause that YSU Honors students have been passionate about focusing volunteer efforts around for nearly two decades.

The retreat will end with recreational and social activities on campus, and students will spend the night in the Stambaugh Stadium facilities.

Earlier this academic year, the Honors College became one of 40 colleges and universities across the country to receive an Iowa Campus Compact grant. The grant, which provides funding for MLK Day service projects geared toward alleviating hunger and supporting veterans, will be used toward the service projects of the retreat. The total award was $2,661.

A portion of the grant also went toward a campus-wide educational campaign leading up to the retreat, in an effort to collect canned goods to be donated to the YSU Student Food Pantry on campus and the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley as one component to the MLK Day of Service project.