Following another successful Meet the President event recently on campus, President David L. Soltz had the pleasure of joining the millions of people who have taken the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The creative fundraiser, made famous on social media by the many ice-dousing videos, has been tremendously successful in raising more than $110.5 million for the ALS Association.
As Soltz said during his challenge, ALS, commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a relentless degenerative disease that leads slowly to death. To date, there is no cure. Hopefully this will change due to the overwhelming support seen these past few months by our society, including many of Bloomsburg University’s family and friends.
Rising to the challenge to support a worthy cause is nothing new to the university community. It’s almost second nature for our students, faculty and staff.
For example one of BU’s sororities, Sigma Sigma Sigma, recently helped Geisinger’s Janet Weis Children’s Hospital land a $2,210 grant for needed teaching aides for its patients.
Their charitable effort is one of many examples of how BU’s Greek organizations – as well as other student groups – work with our community and support local and national charities like the Ronald McDonald House, Toys for Tots, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and our local women’s shelter and food cupboard.
Of course a prime example of BU’s passion for charity and community support is The Big Event, which annually receives a steady flow of volunteers from our entire student population. In fact, two of the largest on-campus fundraising efforts turned in record level donations this past academic year.
Relay For Life of Bloomsburg University, coordinated by the campus Chapter of Colleges Against Cancer, had more than 800 participants on 50 teamsraise more than $50,000 to benefit the American Cancer Society.
The Multicultural Center’s annual Breast Cancer 5K Walk/Run has raised more than $100,000 since the first step was taken in 2002, including more than $12,000 last fall.
These recent highlights remind BU of the biggest challenge it’s faced and the strongest relief effort it’s pulled together in recent memory. Three years ago this past week, the Flood of 2011 forever changed the landscape and, in many case, the future of the Bloomsburg community. The clear view of the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds from Route 11, where a row of houses once stood, is one permanent reminder. There are a thousand other examples in our immediate region.
BU lost seven days of classes, yet the university continued to work. Students, faculty and staff volunteered with clean up, Red Cross efforts and local emergency governmental agencies, such as call-in centers and supply aide distribution. These volunteer efforts continued well into the fall and spring. It was a clear and emotional snapshot at how much BU values its community and, in many ways, brought the community and school closer together.