December 11, 2023

Leading through giving

Sierra DiCupe ’24

ESU Student Government Association members at the annual Teddy Bear Drive

The importance of giving back can’t be understated. There’s no better feeling than knowing you were able to positively impact someone else’s life through your generosity and service. I was very fortunate to have had opportunities in high school to participate in community service at places such as Cathedral Kitchen, Ronald McDonald House, and Joseph’s House. To know that I was able to bring a smile to someone’s face during a dark time is both rewarding and inspirational.

When I was applying for colleges, I knew that wherever I went, I wanted to continue to express my gratitude through service and share that love of service with others. East Stroudsburg University has given me those opportunities and allowed me to expand my reach through my leadership roles.

As vice president of the ESU Student Government Association (SGA), I have been supporting the campus community through my work at the Warrior Food Pantry, which directly aids students who have food insecurity. I’ve also been involved in many food drives, campus cleanups, and coat drives.

One of the most widely known events we plan—and the most fun—is our Teddy Bear Drive. We collect stuffed animals and toys for local children in need. We then bring the children together for a fun evening that includes food, cookies, and hot chocolate. We also read stories, watch a movie, and get a visit from Santa. Each kid leaves with a gift and a teddy bear as our way of making it extra special. None of this would be possible without the donations from generous students, faculty, staff, and others from around the community. PASSHE universities are definitely second to none when it comes to giving.

Santa and Mrs. Claus talking to children at the Teddy Bear Drive

This is my third year participating in the Teddy Bear Drive, which is now in its 24th year. Watching the children open their toys and seeing the smile on their faces is the reason we plan this event. We know not all children are able to experience Christmas, and we want to provide them with something memorable.

Over my last three years, I’ve learned a lot about the local community and the many opportunities I have to give back. I’m happy I chose a university that values it just as much as I do.

As the end of the fall semester approaches and winter break nears, I encourage all my classmates across PASSHE to find a way to contribute to the wellbeing of society. One act of kindness—one nice thing—could mean the world to someone in need.

East Stroudsburg University's Student Government Association at the annual Teddy Bear Drive
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