Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pause. Penny War for PAWS?

I was not counting on having anything substantial to blog about this week, but with DePaul’s commitment to its Vincentian mission, you can literally trip over student service projects on campus. For example, tonight in the Clifton-Fullerton residence hall lobby a couple of girls set up a table and declared an official “Penny War.” This curious practice served as the very first fundraiser for a newly registered student group devoted completely to serving the DePaul community.

The student group CHIA, which stands for “Clifton Hall in Action,” was founded last quarter by freshman roommates Ashley Young and Katie Gregorski. Originally, they sought on campus employment, but with the guidance of Lincoln Park Chaplain Wendy Mathewson, they decided to start a community service group in order to bring students together for a good cause.

“[It was] mostly because Clifton is the most unsocial dorm on campus,” said Young. Thus, CHIA was born. Every week of fall quarter, the girls rounded up students (mostly from Clifton-Fullerton Hall) to volunteer time at PAWS, a no-kill animal shelter in Lincoln Park. Now that CHIA is officially registered as a student group, they are free to fundraise, which is where the Penny War comes in.

The Penny War works like this: as students filter in and out of the lobby, they drop change into different cups representing each floor of the building. Pennies count for one point, and anything more valuable than a penny is worth negative points. The floor that scores closest to zero wins cookies!

“We’re trying to get people aware of what we’re doing while trying to get money for cat litter and dog food [for the shelter],” said Young. By the end of the night, she estimated that they raised about $20 in three hours, “but that will buy a couple bags of cat litter for them,” she said.

Anyone interested in volunteering with CHIA can meet this Friday, January 9, at 2:30 p.m. in the Clifton-Fullerton lobby. Volunteers will walk to 1997 N. Clybourn and volunteer from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., to walk dogs, fill water bowls, and according to Young, “mostly just play with the puppies.”

Everyone is also encouraged to join CHIA’s Facebook group to learn more about upcoming service projects.


  1. Jenn,

    This sounds like a really interesting group - and I like how you included the info about how to join them or become part of their Facebook group. Really informative stuff.


  2. I know from experience that volunteering is a great way to spend time with and get to know people. Those girls were pretty cool to think up something like helping PAWS as a way to meet people.
    In high school, my school did a "penny war" to raise money for a local homeless shelter and everyone got into it just because the concept was made into a game.
    Cool find, Jenn!

  3. It's always interesting to read what's going in in those dorms. Because I came to DePaul as a transfer, I never had the chance.

    Also, what a great method to raise money! Sounds like that hall needs a pet!