Service projects for the holiday season

This holiday season is one of service.

Carnegie Mellon students will do everything from dressing up as Santa’s Helpers to cooking spaghetti dinners to participate in the service projects open to the campus community before winter break.

“No one person needs to do every project. Deciding what you’d like to do and just giving what you can is key,” said M. Shernell Smith, housefellow of New House and the university’s community service coordinator.

Toys for Tots

For 19 first-years, deciding how to give back involved toys.

Today, students will able to see a horse-drawn sleigh on campus at noon in front of Hunt Library. The sleigh was sent by the U.S. Marine Corps to collect the toys gathered by students for the annual Toys for Tots fundraising drive.

The drive was organized by the 19 students of the CIT First-Year Advisory Board under the leadership of advisor Pamela Golubski. For over a month, the students have been collecting money and toys to donate to the Toys for Tots program, which will distribute the donations to needy Pittsburgh children.

“It feels so good to know that we were able to do something to help underprivileged children instead of sitting around wishing we could do something,” said Tracy Ziev, a board
member and a first-year mechanical engineering and physics major.

“I didn’t think that everyone on campus would be so willing to donate,” said board member Dana Evert-Paraise, a first-year chemical and biomedical engineering major. “I went around New House and at least 75 percent of the people gave us money.”

Last year, the Toys for Tots program distributed 18.5 million toys to 7.5 million needy children. Local campaigns were conducted in 516 communities covering all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

“This year especially, it is important for people to donate to the cause, as the post office is no longer offering collection services,” said board member Aman Chawla, a first-year mechanical and biomedical engineering major.

The group has already surpassed its $1000 goal, collecting over $1100, and has collected approximately $500 in toy donations.

But it is not too late to donate. Members of the campus community can donate money or new, unwrapped toys. Gifts and donations should be given to the Office of Student Development, Pamela Golubski in Scaife Hall 110, or any member of the CIT First-Year Advisory Board. Donations can also be made through the program’s official website,

The Toys for Tots drive will continue through Christmas.

Treasures for Children

Sponsored by the Academic Development and Student Development offices, the Salvation Army’s “Treasures for Children” is collecting toys for needy neighborhood children.

Until Friday, students can stop by the Office of Academic Development (Cyert Hall B5) or Student Development Office (Morewood Gardens) to obtain a tag that will provide the gender and age of a local child. Students who pick up tags should buy a $10–$15 gift for the child and return the unwrapped gift to Student Development office.

Rainbow Kitchen

Pi Kappa Alpha brothers have been standing outside of Doherty Hall dressed in a Santa costume to raise money for families that need food for the holidays.

Along with the Office of Student Development, these “Santa’s Helpers” have been working with the Rainbow Kitchen to provide holiday feast for local families. Located in Homestead, the Rainbow Kitchen works with hundreds of needy families year-round. They are especially in need of others’ charity during the holiday season. More information on how to get involved can be found at their website

Spaghetti for cancer research

Last night, the sisters of Delta Delta Delta hosted their third annual spaghetti dinner to raise money. The all-you-can-eat spaghetti cost $5 per student, and the money went directly to help children with cancer at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Specifically, the proceeds will go toward the search for a cure to cancer. Those who are interested in donating to the cause can contact Wendy Niedelman (wln@) or Jess Jankowitsch (jjankowi@) or visit the hospital’s website,

Day of Service

For students too busy to give back before the break, they will return to a full day of service on the first day of next semester.

Afternoon classes have been cancelled on January 15 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. in honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

Students, faculty, and staff are invited to sites on and off campus for countless service projects. These include sandwich-making for the homeless, holiday card-making for senior citizens, and a mentor program for local school children.

The Office of Student Development is looking for volunteers to serve as mentors to speak to children about diversity and integration in today’s society and lead activities honoring King and his tradition.

Those who are interested can contact M. Shernell Smith (mssmith@, Office of Student Development), Anna Ly (akly@) or Jessica Smith (jls1@).

“We are eagerly looking for MLK mentors,” Smith said, noting that Student Development still needs between 30 and 50 student volunteers.

For a full listing or more information on any of the projects, students can stop in at the Office of Student Development or visit its website at