USF Helps to Address Needs in the Face of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Joliet, Ill. – While the COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges that have impacted the globe, it has also inspired individuals and organizations to step forward to provide aid and assistance in a variety of ways as society navigates these uncertain times. The University of St. Francis (USF) is one of many area organizations to step forward in an effort to provide materials and equipment for front line professionals leading the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jessica Monu, Assistant Professor in USF’s Recreation and Sport Management Department, recently put together a sewing group through her church to make masks for essential employees in a variety of medical settings after finding out a relative was one of those professionals in need.

“Many front line professionals are working without masks. My aunt, who works in the hospice field, was one of those professionals until I made and sent her several. Not only can we help minimize the spread of COVID-19 through self-isolating and following the State’s ‘stay-at-home’ order, but we can also help by making masks to protect these front line professionals,” she said.

Monu’s sewing group continues to make masks with double-layered cotton fabric with elastic cords. Collectively, the group has made and donated over 500 masks and anticipates keeping up this pace as long as they have the materials to do so. To date, masks have been delivered to Good Samaritan Hospital; Edwards Hospital; Rezin Orthopedics; Edward Hines, Jr., VA Hospital; Optimal Case Management; Riverside Village; and DuPage Care Center. Masks have also been given to several area emergency medical technicians.

While making masks is one way assistance is being provided, donating personal protective equipment is another as USF’s Leach College of Nursing also recently donated a variety of masks to Silver Cross Hospital, which was in need of supplies.

“We checked with both hospitals in the Joliet area and learned that Silver Cross was in need of masks. We were able to gather and donate several N95 and R95 masks, 300 procedural masks, 200 procedural masks with face shields to help address their need,” said Jennifer Wills-Savoia, Teaching Instructor/Clinical Simulation & Learning Specialist in USF’s Leach College of Nursing.

USF Director of Community and Government Relations Dave DiLorenzo added that these are just two of many examples of USF serving the community.

“As an institution rooted in Franciscan values, we place a high priority on service and compassion. Given the many challenges we are all facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, living these values through our actions is extremely important,” DiLorenzo said.

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Currently celebrating 100 years of higher education rooted in Franciscan values, the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 50,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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CANCELED – Pay It Forward Summer Service Program

Out of an abundance of caution due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pay It Forward Summer Service Program has been canceled. Please contact Fr. Terry Deffenbaugh at tdeffenbaugh@stfrancis.edu or 815-740-3605 with any questions.

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Joliet, Ill. – Area sophomore, junior and senior high school students will have a unique opportunity this summer to earn service hours while giving back to the local community and learning more about the core values of the University of St. Francis (USF) through the University’s Pay It Forward summer service program.

During the program, which runs from June 22-25 (8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily), participating students will spend a majority of their time each day within the Joliet community at four service sites – Joliet Hope Center food pantry, Will County Forest Preserve, Habitat for Humanity, and Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home. The students will be placed into teams that will work alongside a USF staff member, and those teams will travel via USF buses to a different service site each day. Every student will participate in each of the four experiences. 

“Students will participate in three components each day of the program,” Rev. Terry Deffenbaugh, USF chaplain, theology instructor, and Pay It Forward program coordinator said.  “At the beginning of each day there will be activities focusing on four aspects of service and how each benefits the individual and serves the larger community. The four aspects of service: include learning and developing a sense of social responsibility for the community; engaging the student in the diversity in the community; working as a team (both leading and following) and understanding the importance of communication in any group activity, and; building relationships and connectedness with other students and USF staff, as well as those who are being served.”

“Service learning at USF provides the opportunity to incorporate the university’s values into learning experiences,” Deffenbaugh added. “These values include service (building community, sharing our gifts selflessly, caring for the needs of others); compassion (promoting empathy, forgiveness and peace); integrity (fulfillment of responsibilities, commitment to truth and justice) and respect (reverence for the gift of creation).”

The Pay It Forward summer service program costs $60 per participant, which covers all expenses and materials, including continental breakfast, snack at the work site, lunch, and transportation. Space in the program is limited. To register, visit stfrancis.edu/payitforward or call 815-740-3605 for more information.

Currently celebrating 100 years of higher education rooted in Franciscan values, the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 50,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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Help USF Reach 100,000-Hour Centennial Service Goal

Joliet, Ill. – Service is one of the University of St. Francis’ (USF) four Franciscan values that centers its mission and identity. As part of its year-long centennial celebration in 2020, the university has set a goal of accumulating 100,000 hours of service and is inviting alumni, employees, families, friends and the community to contribute to the effort.

“We commit ourselves to becoming people of service because of the traditions of our Franciscan roots that stretch all the way from St. Francis of Assisi, who was himself imitating the life of Christ, and brought the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate to Joliet. The congregation’s founder Mother Alfred Moes passionately modeled service through her many acts of leadership and charity in the Joliet area, leadership that lead to the creation of this college. Now 100 years later, as we begin our centennial celebration commemorating the founding of our institution, it is appropriate to reflect on the 100 years of ‘preparing women and men to contribute to the world through service and leadership’ and to look at the difference USF continues to make in our community and in the world,” said Jessica Peek, director of university ministry at USF.

From now through December 31, 2020, USF encourages individuals and groups to complete acts of service and then visit stfrancis.edu/centennial to record the hours. For each 1,000 hours of service recorded (which will represent one year of USF’s history of service), a timeline on display in Tower Hall and a counter on the USF centennial website will be updated to reflect progress toward the 100,000-hour service goal.

“We have started our ‘soft launch’ during the fall semester and it has been fantastic to see the different types of service in which the USF community engages. Many of our hours come from our long tradition of students serving breakfast at Daybreak (Shelter) on Fridays and now with employees serving on Thursdays. Our freshman students contribute hours through their Foundations classes, which promote service learning through their curriculum. Sometimes the contributions come in large numbers, from a group mission trip or from an athletic team or student club having participated in a large service project, and other times the service contributed was an individual who gave an hour or two of their time to a good cause,” Peek said.

She also stressed that all service, even just one hour, makes a difference in the community and toward the university’s overall goal.

“No matter how many hours given, every bit helps the goal—and even more importantly, every hour of our time spent in service for and with others transforms us all,” she said.

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 50,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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