Trick-or-treating student group grows as Halloween nears

Media Credit: Katie Causey | Photo Editor

Senior Emily Van Blargan, president of Trick or Treat for Service, will be leading a large group of student volunteers through local neighborhoods later this month to collect canned goods for the Capital Area Food Bank.

To celebrate Halloween this year, some GW students will dress up and trick-or-treat for canned vegetables rather than candy apples.

The student group Trick or Treat for Service is preparing for its annual event of going door to door in the neighborhoods surrounding the Mount Vernon Campus in order to collect canned goods and non-perishables to donate to a local food bank. This year, it be will held on Oct. 24, the Sunday before Halloween.

Now in its third year, Trick or Treat for Service first began as a small effort by the community service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and began to include other service organizations, like the sorority Epsilon Sigma Alpha. But its leaders have high hopes for the event’s growth this year.

Junior Jackie Andrews, the volunteer coordinator of Trick or Treat for Service, said she hopes to expand the event this year to include more non-service-based groups and individual volunteers, like the 12-hour Dance Marathon fundraiser, which attracted 45 student groups in its first year.

“It’s very similar in nature to something like Dance Marathon, where we have a registered organization that has one big event per year,” she said.

Last year, more than 10 organizations – like the softball team, the honor’s program, GW Red Cross and some multicultural Greek organizations – participated in the event. This year, Andrews said new organizations that have signed up so far include the women’s lacrosse team, the African dance team and Medlife GW.

“I do think we’re on our way to something much bigger that there’s a lot of buzz around,” Andrews said.

Andrews said that about 150 volunteers joined last year’s event, where Provost Steven Lerman was a speaker. Each year, volunteers collect about 3,000 to 5,000 pounds of food for donation to the Capital Area Food Bank.

Senior Emily Van Blargan, president of Trick or Treat for Service and a member of ESA, said she likes the event because it gives students “a chance to do service and do good things.”

“A lot of organizations that participate don’t do a lot of community service, and I like that it’s kind of an opportunity to get out of the Foggy Bottom bubble while also doing some good,” Van Blargan said.

Van Blargan hopes to collect at least 4,000 pounds of food this year for the Capital Area Food Bank. Generally, however, she and the organization just want to do “bigger and better” than previous years.

Van Blargan said that one of her favorite memories was working with GW’s head of transportation last year to work out logistics for getting cars to take the volunteers to their respective neighborhoods.

“He donated 4-RIDEs and 4-RIDE drivers out of his own time and salary to volunteer at the event, and he came and volunteered. It’s really nice when GW staff get involved and to see people who really enjoy community service having a fun fall day,” she said.

Victoria Sheridan contributed reporting.

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