As part of our Catholic identity and Gannon’s mission, all students are encouraged to spend some time each semester volunteering. There are even some classes that require a certain number of volunteer hours for a grade. Here are 10 easy ways to help others in your spare time.

10. Sign up for GIVE Day. GIVE Day — Gannon’s Invitation to Volunteer Everywhere — takes place each fall. Students assemble into groups with residence halls, sports teams or clubs, and spend the morning helping out around Erie doing activities such as cleaning the beaches on Presque Isle or painting local businesses. This year, Gannon alum participated in GIVE Day in Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

9. Become involved with Kids’ Cafe. Each Friday, Gannon students head to high schools in the area to work with inner-city Erie students in an after-school program — students from all majors and years are encouraged to help out with Fridays at the Kids’ Cafe.

8. Join one of Gannon’s two service fraternities. Alpha Phi Omega and Gamma Sigma Sigma are co-ed service clubs available to students in any major from any year. Both fraternities offer service opportunities for their members on a regular basis.

7. Ask for canned goods. Similar to GIVE Day, Golden Harvest is a campus-organized event that students can sign up for with their organizations. During Golden Harvest, which coincides with Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, students collect non-perishable food items from Erie residents to donate to the Second Harvest Food Bank. This year, 12,919 pounds of food was collected by GU students.

6. Help out with the Social Work Club’s Thanksgiving Dinner. Each year, students from the social work club organize a free Thanksgiving dinner for Erie’s less fortunate in conjunction with the Sisters of St. Joseph. Interested in helping? Students are always welcome to cook, wrap presents or help oversee the event.

5. Stop by Waldron on your lunch break. Each day during lunch hours, various clubs and groups set up tables inside the Waldron Campus Center. Stop by to get a candy bar, raffle ticket for gift cards or even a christmas wreath while helping a charity at the same time.

4. Clean out your closet. Each year, Gannon’s Social Work Club hosts the Sole to Soul Shoe and Clothing Drive for the annual Christmas Dinner and Wellness Fair. Donations of clothing and shoes in any size or style are accepted in bins around campus.

3. Go on spring break. Instead of spending spring break at home working or Facebooking, participate in an Alternative Break Service Trip. This year, students have the opportunity to travel to New York City, New Orleans, Florida and Haiti.

2. Donate Blood. Several times each semester the Community Blood Bank teams up with Gannon to hold a blood drive right in the Hammermill Center. This is a quick way to make a big difference, and all donations are used in the Erie area.

1.  Get in touch with the Center for Social Concerns. The CSC is Gannon’s hub for all things service-related. Stop by their office in Waldron or their website for a list of volunteer opportunities and service reporting.

Interested in volunteering once you move to the city? Gannon’s newest volunteering opportunity is the newly created Erie-GAINS program.