MATTYE FOXX, BS ’69, knows a little about volunteering. In 2010, she stepped down from her role as coordinator of the Red Cross Community Blood Drive. When she took on that job, 27 years previously, she had already been with the Red Cross for 13 years.

Students pick up yard tools before fanning out across the city for the Big Event.

Students pick up yard tools before fanning out across the city for the Big Event.

Foxx still volunteers at Via Christi Hospital, where she has been a fixture for 47 years.

“I started working there in 1964,” Foxx recalled. “After our son died. Andrew thought I needed to get around people. I needed to do something.”

For Mattye, volunteering and helping others is something that feeds her soul.

“It’s just something that you just keep wanting to do,” Foxx said. “There’s always something that’s more important than you are.”

In addition to the Red Cross, the hospital and a long list of community organizations, Foxx has helped whenever her alma mater has had a need. In 2007, the Alumni Association recognized Foxx for her service with the Ralf Thomas Distinguished Service Award.

That spirit of volunteerism is being passed to a new generation of Gorillas through dozens of service learning opportunities for students. The largest of those is the Big Event, a massive community service project held each spring.

Students pick up yard tools before fanning out across the city for the Big Event.

Students pick up yard tools before fanning out across the city for the Big Event.

This past spring, more than 700 students from about 15 campus organizations worked at 115 sites across the city. They raked, painted and performed other work from one end of Pittsburg to the other.

“One of the great things about PSU is that the students here do care about the community,” said Emily Smith, this year’s Big Event organizer.
David Adams, assistant director for campus activities, said service projects benefit both the community and the students.

“Students’ lives are enriched when they give of themselves,” Adams said. “The goal, of course, is to nurture service and volunteerism as a way of life.”