Going to college in the middle of Downtown Pittsburgh provides many resources for students on campus. However, the engagement between students and the Pittsburgh community has had some issues due to the pandemic. Sophomore, sports, arts, and entertainment management (SAEM) major, Ryan Dawson, wants to help mend these connections with a new club: the Horned Groundhog Service Fellowship.
Dawson started the Horned Groundhog Service Fellowship this semester and is the founder and president. The goal of the community service club is to provide cleanups, outreach and engagement all through the students themselves.
Although Dawson started the club, he actually wasn’t involved much in clubs in high school other than his school’s theatre club. But, he was actively involved with the Boy Scouts of America where he found his love for community service.
“Community service, to me, means doing work cheerfully with no expectation of reward or retribution,” Dawson said. “I got involved with community service due to the Boy Scouts of America and my family. I am an Eagle Scout and a member of the Order of the Arrow, and both of these parts of the Boy Scouts of America are dedicated to cheerful service.”
After his first year at Point Park, he saw many things that could be improved about the environment around him. By getting a group of students with the initiative for change together, Dawson saw a possibility for improvement in the environment students see every day.
“I wanted to create the club because I saw the need at Point Park,” Dawson said. “There is a lack of community engagement with students themselves. The city is dirty, the university has things that could be made better, so I started the club to solve those issues.”
The Horned Groundhog Service Fellowship began its agenda with different activities that cleaned up certain parts of the school. This way students could see an effort being made right in their own homes.
“The club has started a couple of clean-ups since its inception,” Dawson said. “It has cleaned the Lawrence Hall laundry room a few times as well as a couple of different street cleanups.”
Another cleanup the club has started since its beginning is to clean up the atrium that is right outside the windows of students in Thayer Hall whose windows face the inside/center of the building. The space has been left alone for quite some time with growing weeds and old dirt taking the courtyard over.
“This [the atrium cleanup] is our big project for the year,” Dawson said. “We have started cleaning the Thayer Hall atrium, and we are turning it into a beautiful little “park” for residents of Thayer to be able to see when they look out their window.”
This is just the beginning for the Horned Groundhog Service Fellowship. Dawson’s goal for the club as a whole is that it provides meaningful service to the Pittsburgh community and also bridges connections within Point Park’s own community.
“I hope to not only create a space where people can come to, hang out, and feel welcome, accepted, and accomplished, but I also want to create a club that is here at Point Park for years to come, doing cheerful service and big projects for the school,” Dawson said.