Nobody told me…How to become an activist

It seems everywhere you turn there is a charity or organization vying for your time and money to further their efforts. Just look toward Center City this month and you will see a pink skyline

It seems everywhere you turn there is a charity or organization vying for your time and money to further their efforts. Just look toward Center City this month and you will see a pink skyline for Breast Cancer Awareness. Turn on the TV and you will be bombarded with commercials for causes important to the upcoming election.

You want to help, but college students do not have time or money to help those in need. Or so you think.

Below are a few ways to become an activist on or around campus in your spare time, including ways to share the things you do not need with someone who does.

1. BLOOD DRIVES: I’ve got blood, you’ve got blood, and we all need to share it. According to the American Red Cross, almost everyone is eligible to donate, though barely a fraction of those who can give actually do. Everyone rushed to the blood banks after September 11, 2001, but what about the small disasters that do not reach the headlines? There are many common myths about who can give and who cannot, so let us clear up a few. If you have recently gotten a tattoo, you are ineligible, but only for a year. If you can say the instruments used for your latest piercing were sterile, then you can donate. Do not believe the story about kids being busted for smoking pot when they gave blood. There is not a test that is run to determine marijuana use and your blood is as good as anyone else’s. The whole process of donating is both simple and quick, so there is no reason not to.

Upcoming Main Campus Blood Drives:

November 5, 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.: Paley Library

November 12, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.: Speakman Hall

November 30, 11a.m. – 4:30 p.m.: Temple Towers

December 3, 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.: Paley Library

2. CLOTHING DONATIONS: You have asked yourself time after time, ‘Why did I buy that shirt I never wore?’ It could be that it was on sale, or maybe it just doesn’t fit right – whatever the reason, you don’t need it and someone else does. There are tons of clothing donation centers across the city that are in dire need of clothes in good condition. Even if you just want to clean out your closet to make room for your new stuff, consider donating before you throw out perfectly good items. Below is a list of just a handful of places that accept donations; some will even arrange for a pick-up time so you don’t have to set one foot off campus.

-Salvation Army: Pick-up available. (215) 483- 3340 ext. 1.

-Good Will: No pick-up; drop off at 2610 S. Front St. (215) 463- 5054.

-Kensington Welfare Rights Union: Pick-up possible; drop off at 2825 N. 5th St. (215) 203-1945.

-Society of St. Vincent De Paul: Pick-up possible; drop off at 901 E. Luzerne St. (215) 288-9540.

-Whosoever Gospel Mission: Pick-up possible; drop off at 101 E. Chelten Ave. (215) 438-3094.

3. YMCA: No longer just for young men or Christians, the YMCA is a place for connecting with your community. Though there are many organizations around the city that need volunteers, but this one is easy to get to from main campus. Volunteering duties vary from working at the front desk to coaching a children’s basketball team, and any hours you can put in are helpful. Whether you like working with kids or have a few spare hours in the week you regularly spend watching TV, the YMCA might be the place for you. Call (215) 235-6440 for the branch at 1400 N. Broad St.

4. WALKS: Possibly the most popular form of activism, and definitely the most common. “Walks” to raise money are organized for many causes, anywhere from AIDS to Autism. Pledges are involved, which means you must raise money, and volunteers walk together for a certain distance. Most organizations accept any amount of pledges and are happy you just show up to support the cause. Though most walks take place in early fall, advertisements will soon be popping up for those in the spring.

Hopefully, after reading these you will forgo the “poor college student” excuse for good. Having little money and a small amount of time does not disable you from helping those less fortunate, and don’t think you will not receive anything in return.

A morning after donating your time or possessions is guaranteed to leave you with a better feeling than the sick one you will have the morning after that lousy dorm party. Your head and your heart will thank you, I promise.

Michelle Nicoletto can be reached at

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