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D'Youville University students give back. (Submitted photo)
D'Youville University students give back. (Submitted photo)

D'Youville University kicks off fall semester by giving back to 12 WNY-based organizations


Mon, Aug 28th 2023 03:55 pm

More than 300 new students enrolled, noting prepandemic numbers

Submitted on Behalf of D’Youville University

Today, D’Youville University began its 2023 fall semester. In doing so, the school welcomed more than 300 new students (noting prepandemic enrollment numbers) to campus through a refreshed five-day orientation model. The orientation centered on the university’s mission, highlighting educational, social and transformative programming – one day being dedicated to students contributing community service to one of 12 Western New York-based organizations.

“Orientation is meant to be a fun way to connect new students with their university and share all of the resources they have access to on our campus,” said RaShon Thomas, director of the student experience. “D’Youville is founded in service though, so our orientation program also focuses on that mentality to ensure everybody gives back starting on day one.”

New students were organized into different breakout groups and got to choose a service opportunity that aligned with their passions. The university fostered several community partners to launch this initiative, connecting students with the following options:

  • St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy
  • Buffalo City Mission
  • Friends of Night People
  • Go Buffalo @ Roosevelt Plaza
  • Go Buffalo
  • FeedMore WNY
  • Mary Agnes Manor
  • Buffalo Convention Center (“Mayor’s Reading Rules” event)
  • Asarese-Matters Community Center
  • Lincoln Field House
  • Machnica Community Center
  • Resource Council of WNY
  • JFK Community Center

Expected learning outcomes connected to this component of the orientation program include an understanding of the impact of volunteering, how to live compassionate lives, and leadership skills. The university noted an additional learning outcome focuses on developing a connection to the City of Buffalo, as the student body includes students from 26 different states and 18 different countries – many of whom are only familiar with this area because of their initial campus visit.

“The west side community is the new home of these students,” Thomas said. “We want to make sure that they are just as connected to their city as they are to their university, and there is no better way to create this connection, to become a Buffalonian, than by getting involved right away.”

This orientation program may be the first community service experience for many of these new students but certainly will not be their last. A common phrase heard around campus is “never refuse to serve,” paying tribute to the university namesake, St. Marguerite d’Youville. The phrase drives countless service opportunities throughout the academic year, which all focus on the City of Buffalo.

“The academic reputation is what introduced me to DYU when I was searching for colleges, but the community impact is what sold me,” said John Rizk, a fifth-year student and D’Youville University student government association president. “I’ve always been passionate about helping others and giving back, and the same is clearly true for every student here.”

Although the official orientation program concluded for new students on Sunday, D’Youville University will continue connecting new and returning students to the campus and City of Buffalo by hosting 50 additional events and activities over the next two weeks. In addition to events on and around campus, the university will host several activities around the City of Buffalo, coining the term “Saints in the City,” which plays on the campus mascot.

For more information, visit dyu.edu.

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