Major: Political Science
Hometown: Mendham, New Jersey
HC: So what made you decide to create Serve State?
KP: A group of 11 of us decided to start this group because we didn’t think we could find anything on campus that was broad enough in the sense of philanthropy and service. Most groups on campus make you register as either philanthropy or service, but we wanted to create a group that was inclusive of both categories. Wherever there was a void, we wanted to fill it.
HC: What exactly is Serve State?
KP: Serve State is a family of students who are looking to give back. Not only to Penn State, but also to the State College community because we acknowledge the fact that we have been given so much through this school and this town. We are looking to make friends, but are looking to do it in a way that is fostered through service.
HC: What kind of service do you guys do?
KP: Service wise, we are heavily involved in State College Meals on Wheels. Every Wednesday we help prepare food for the elderly who do not have the ability to do it themselves. We also started a brand new initiative with Meals on Wheels that involves sending out a cupcake balloon and card to the individuals who have birthdays in that month, and if they want some company we will hang out with them for a little to brighten their day.
We are also building a garden for the Oaks Old Age Home. It’s going to be a garden primarily made up of tomatoes as one of the residents is passionate about “his tomatoes.”
HC: What kind of philanthropies are you guys involved in?
KP: Our biggest philanthropy is THON. We were recently approved to raise money for THON. On our last canning trip we made over $2,700. Since that was our first canning trip, I was really impressed. We would have been happy making $500, especially since we only had 20 people canning, but we really went above and beyond.
HC: So what’s it been like starting a new club on campus?
KP: It has been stressful, but extremely rewarding. We have accomplished so much in 10 weeks. For example, we had a bake sale last weekend and our goal was $150, but we raised over $500 in the end. It was shocking to see people’s generosity when they learned about the mission of our organization. Overall, starting a new group on campus and getting the word out there has been an extremely rewarding experience. I don’t think I have had a better feeling at this school than seeing what this group has accomplished so far this semester.
HC: What would you say to prospective students who are thinking of joining?
KP: If you are even remotely interested in doing things for others, this is the club for you. Helping others could mean totally different things for different people and that’s fine by us. We had a group of students come in who really wanted to work with kids, and we are now looking into a way to do that for them. There are no limits in what type of service you can do in this club.