UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers not only works tirelessly to promote the study and application of engineering sciences, but also strives to give back to their community. This semester, the student organization spearheaded a donation drive to support the United States military.
Samuel Rippy, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, and Matt Semanick, a 2018 mechanical engineering graduate, solicited donations of food and supplies for troops serving overseas. “I know a lot of people in the military and I’ve always felt it was important to reach out and let them know people appreciate their service,” Semanick said.
The students gave the packages a personalized touch, utilizing the 3-D printers available to ASME members on campus: They created a keychain with the Penn State ASME logo and the wording “Thank you for your service."
“We wanted to show Penn State’s worldwide presence,” Semanick said.
After receiving an outpouring of donations from fellow ASME members, faculty and staff from the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering and other organizations, the chapter boxed up 11 care packages weighing more than 15 pounds to be shipped to service members serving all over the world.
In addition to snacks and toiletries, they made sure to add unconventional items that may be missed by the troops. “We even included little packets of hot sauce,” Semanick said. “We take things like that for granted, but you can really miss them when you’re deployed.”
Donors also included handwritten notes expressing their thanks for all the work the military does at home and abroad. Soliciting and gathering the donations was a big job, but it was one the team was happy to do.
“Seeing so many people donate and be invested in philanthropy was a great experience,” Rippy said.
As he prepares to begin his professional career at ExxonMobil, Semanick hopes this initiative continues in the department.
“With this momentum, I think there could definitely be a second annual drive,” he said.
Both of the students credited their ASME chapter with giving them ample opportunities to grow and forge relationships with the engineering community.
“It just develops you as a person,” Rippy said. “Through all the networking and connections, you get to enjoy your time here and appreciate Penn State as the diverse community that it is.”
Once the items are received by the deployed troops during the summer, the students hope it makes an impact.
“This is about more than just donating items,” Semanick added, “I hope it shows how much Penn State appreciates the sacrifices our military makes.”