BU freshman project benefits local Project Linus

For immediate release: Aug. 21, 2007

BLOOMSBURG — It’s a safe bet that many Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania freshmen will bring a favorite quilt or afghan from home to make their residence hall rooms cozier. Just like these BU students, the region’s sick and traumatized children find comfort in handmade blankets provided through the local chapter of Project Linus.

Merging Welcome Weekend’s community service component with the charity’s needs is providing a new volunteer opportunity for BU’s incoming freshmen, said Maramonne Houseknecht, coordinator of new student orientation. BU freshmen will be able to create no-sew fleece blankets to benefit Project Linus Saturday, Aug. 25, from 1 to 4 p.m. in Kehr Union, room 345-B, as just one of the events planned to welcome new students to the campus.

Project Linus is a national volunteer organization, established in 1995, that provides a sense of security, warmth and comfort to ill and needy children through the gifts of new, handmade blankets. The blankets, including knitted or crocheted afghans, quilts, comforters and fleece coverlets, are distributed locally. The Central Susquehanna Valley Chapter, one of nearly 400 chapters nationwide, has delivered more than 5,000 blankets to women’s shelters, foster care organizations, Camp Victory in Millville and the pediatric departments of four local hospitals -- the Janet Weis Center at Geisinger Medical Center, Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg, Williamsport Hospital and Berwick Hospital Center -- since its founding in 2000.

Houseknecht learned about Project Linus as one of 250 members of the National Orientation Directors Association who created 75 fleece blankets at the regional meeting earlier this year at Virginia Tech.

“Our students have off-campus community service projects they may participate in during Welcome Weekend,” Houseknecht said, “but they don’t often see the end product. There’s no sewing involved in making these blankets for Project Linus, so all of our students can participate. They will be able to see the end product, help sick and needy children and participate in civic engagement.”
The project is co-sponsored by BU’s SOLVE volunteer office with a goal of creating 100 blankets in three hours. Pat Warren of Lewisburg, coordinator of the local chapter, will talk to the participants about Project Linus while displaying blankets made by others and a “thank-you” book.

New students will move into BU’s residence halls Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 22 and 23, with Welcome Weekend events beginning Thursday, Aug. 23. Weekend highlights include:

  • Presentation, “Your Future Path and How to Get There,” by educational consultant and trainer Marvin Worthy of Chambersburg, Thursday, Aug. 23, at 7 p.m. in Haas Center for the Arts.
  • Freshman Convocation following the theme, “Engaging Minds – Taking Action,” Friday, Aug. 24, at 9:30 a.m. in Haas Center for the Arts.
  • Civic engagement and voter registration program, “A Vote is a Voice,” by Joan Mandle, executive director of Democracy Matters, and Emily Kinkead, president of BU’s Democracy Matters chapter, Saturday, Aug. 25, at 10 a.m.
  • Community volunteer opportunities, “Building a Better Community,” Friday, Aug. 24, at 1:30 p.m., meeting at the Haas Center for the Arts.
  • Mandatory fire and safety meetings, Kehr Union, room 345-A and ballroom, Friday, Aug. 24, at 6 p.m.

Also planned for Welcome Weekend are a discussion of the students’ summer reading assignments on civic engagement, the student activities fair, the Town of Bloomsburg scavenger hunt, Catholic and Protestant worship services and a dance. Classes begin for all students Monday, Aug. 27.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 8,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Professional Studies, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.