Students, faculty and staff at St. Ambrose University worked collectively and individually to contribute 2,400 hours of service to the community over a month-long period to celebrate the many ways Ambrosians make a difference in the community.

St. Ambrose University president Amy Novak (right) helped bake bread and volunteered for the Dec. 7 Feast of St. Ambrose Day bread and soup bar at the Rogalski Center on campus.

“Bee the Difference Month” at St. Ambrose began on Nov. 7 with the annual Bee the Difference Day project conducted annually since 2006 by the SAU Student Government Association. It concluded on Dec. 7, with a bread and soup bar at the Rogalski Center, to both celebrate Ambrosian service and mark the annual Feast of Saint Ambrose Day that honors the University’s namesake saint.

A bread and soup bar was held for the community on Dec. 7 at Rogalski Center, St. Ambrose University, Davenport.

In the course of the 30 days in between, Ambrosians served Davenport and the greater Quad Cities in various unique and impactful ways. Those include:

  • Lego robotics coaching
  • Meal service at Café on Vine
  • Packing welcome bags for Afghan refugees
  • Cooking for elderly neighbors
  • Cub Scout mentoring and teaching
  • Elementary school mentoring
  • Volunteer hours at Vera French Mental Health Center, Impact Life, the Festival of Trees, and other like organizations and events.

St. Ambrose students contributed 1,900 hours of the documented volunteer service, while faculty and staff submitted 400 hours of service efforts.

“The hours of community service we counted over this past month do not represent the countless contributions and selfless acts of kindness St. Ambrose students, faculty, and staff members perform every day, every month, every year,” SAU president Amy Novak said in a Friday release. “We created Bee the Difference Month as a means of intentionally amplifying and celebrating the ways our campus community so effectively honors Ambrose of Milan.

“As an early leader of the Catholic Church, Saint Ambrose carried his ministry beyond the walls of his church and lived his faith among the people in ways that reflected God’s love and compassion,” she said. “He made a difference. As the only university in the United States named in honor of the Patron Saint of Bees, the St. Ambrose University community is committed to making that same kind of difference.”

The Feast of St. Ambrose Day bread and soup bar celebrated Ambrosian service with dozens of loaves of homemade bread baked and contributed by more than 20 bakers across campus, including Amy and Ken Novak. More than 350 members of the campus community attended the event.

A bread and soup bar was held at Rogalski Center at St. Ambrose on Dec. 7, the Feast of St. Ambrose Day.

Before the month started, Novak said:

“Whether you are on a sports team that has committed to working with children with Down syndrome, or you have students working at a clinic for the underserved, or maybe you and your children are baking a small loaf of bread for a neighbor, all of these are examples of how we live out our calling to serve,” she said. “To celebrate the incredible service conducted by our community, I would encourage you to take a picture of your service efforts throughout the month and use your social media platforms to amplify the service commitment of St. Ambrose University to the wider community.”