Student body pays it forward this holiday season 

By Josh Smith, Contributing Writer
 
As the holiday season edges closer, the act of giving begins to fill the minds of many people. Frequently known as “paying it forward,” various groups and organizations from around the globe partake in fundraisers and drives that help the greater good. As of recently, many clubs and organizations on West Liberty University’s campus have been taking part in these festivities. 
 
On Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, the Criminal Justice Society and the Housing Department teamed up to host WLU’s fourth annual Haunted Halls, and they asked for donations of toys for the chance to skip the long lines. 
 
“We had two boxes and a huge bag of assorted toys,” said Hannah Walters, a Criminal Justice graduate and current WLU graduate student. “Also, the week before, the Criminal Justice Society and the YWCA student group on campus paired up and sold raffle baskets to raise money to make care packages for the women at the domestic violence shelter.” All toys received were donated to Wheeling’s Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). 
 
The WLU Greek Life organization has also been active in fundraising and holding charitable events recently. A few weeks ago, the organization held a 5K walk on campus where participants raised 25 cents per mile walked for a charity of their choice. 
 
Greek Life has also frequently helped with town clean-ups, and they most recently held a fundraiser in St. Clairsville, Ohio, at the local Chipotle restaurant. Greek Life earned 50 percent of the profit that night, which was put towards sending Greek Life members to leadership conferences in Connecticut.  
 
Megan Waddell and Sheena Keenan, with the help of many other social work students, are also holding a charitable drive with their second annual Christmas for the Homeless drive. Through Dec. 4, they will be collecting donations for their gift bags to hand out to the homeless in Washington and Allegheny Counties for Christmas. 
 
“Last year was a huge success,” Waddell said. “We handed out over 80 bags to the homeless. We are hoping to make this year bigger and better than last year.” 
 
The group asks for donations in all shapes and sizes for men, women, and children. Typical donations consist of blankets, winter hats, gloves and socks, but the group will take any and all donations to help those in need this winter season. 
 
“All we are trying to do is make the winter months a little easier for those who are less fortunate,” Waddell said. “It’s a cheap, easy way to spread love.” 
 
Like Waddell and Keenan, many other students are feeling charitable this holiday season, but the Physician Assistant graduate students are fundraising for a different cause. Five Physician Assistant students are growing their beards for the No-Shave November fundraiser. The purpose of the fundraiser is to educate people about cancer prevention and to raise money for research. The groups’ donation goal is $500, and they have already reached $265. 
 
In these last weeks of the semester, there are plenty of fundraisers and drives around campus that would benefit from giving. New opportunities will continue to pop up throughout the rest of the semester.
 
Photo provided by Megan Jones
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