Lending a hand

November is the month of giving thanks for what we have — and for helping others who don’t have. Here’s a spotlight on two upcoming events designed to help improve the lives of others:

Cans Across the Cut

Hosted by Carnegie Mellon’s Staff Council, [Cans Across the Cut] is a competitive food drive in which various teams compete to collect the most donations. Any group is eligible to enter, including student organizations, residence halls, and academic departments. Each team will line up its donations with the goal of reaching from one end of the Cut to the other. Last year’s first-place winner was Delta Upsilon with 1073 cans donated, followed by Phi Kappa Theta and Pi Kappa Alpha.

“The objective of the event is to get students involved in Carnegie Mellon’s annual food drive in a fun, visible way,” said Carole Panno, co-chair of the event’s committee.

This is the third year for [Cans Across the Cut.] Jennifer Cox, yearly coordinator of the event, came up with the idea after seeing the efforts of Colorado State University.

“I received my bachelor’s degree [there] where they held an event called [Cans Around the Oval] to collect canned goods for those in need,” Cox said. “I thought it would be great to modify the event and created [Cans Across the Cut.]”

The Staff Council has several representatives who help run the event, including Co-Chairs Panno, Cox, and Gloria Dadowski, Staff Council Communications Co-Chair Lindie Droulia, and Honorary Faculty Chair Jean Alexander. In addition to these organizing members, there are many volunteers for the actual event, including students who will aid in counting the donations. All members of the committee encourage the campus community to participate in the event.

“I hope that each year more and more students, faculty, and staff members on campus will realize how important it is to help others in our community who are in need,” Cox said. “It’s so easy to [forget] that even though we struggle to make ends meet, there are so many others who are less fortunate than those of us [at Carnegie Mellon].”
Donations will be accepted in the form of non-perishable food and household products as well as gift certificates for grocery stores (but those are harder to line up across the Cut). All donations will benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Cans Across the Cut takes place Nov. 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

These Hands Don’t Hurt

In another form of social service, students at the University of Pittsburgh have created a gallery exhibit called These Hands Don’t Hurt, opening Nov. 5. The event, organized by this year’s Sexual Assault Services interns Alex Schwall, Catherine Moran, and Rachael Kraus, attempts to raise awareness about sexual assault among college students in order to help prevent future incidents.

The interns approached male organizations on the Pitt campus, such as fraternities, asking members to pledge not to commit sexual assault. Each male solidified his pledge by putting his handprint and signature on a poster board, which will be showcased in the These Hands Don’t Hurt exhibit. In addition to visiting male organizations, the interns also set up an area outside the William Pitt Student Union where male students could participate in the pledge. Females were not included in this year’s event, but one of the interns, Alex Schwall, hopes that will change in the future.

“We focused on males because a lot of [sexual assaults] on our campus have been with female victims,” Schwall said. “But I hope that in the future they will do both genders.” The interns also hope that other campuses will follow Pitt’s lead and hold their own version of the event in the future.

The exhibit runs from Nov. 5 to Nov. 16 on Pitt’s campus at the William Pitt Student Union’s Kimbo Gallery. The official opening is Nov. 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. Refreshments will be provided.