Malone University graduate students raise money for bus passes


Every school year, Mu Alpha Omega, Malone's honors society for graduate counseling students, executes a fundraiser to help local underserved populations. This year they focused on raising money to buy Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) bus passes for homeless residents who need transportation to mental health services.

“We brainstormed how to increase access to mental health services in Stark and Summit Counties,” said Sonji Gregory, faculty adviser for MU Alpha Omega. “We called the Haven of Rest emergency shelter and they suggested buying bus passes because their residents have difficulty accessing transportation to their mental health appointments.”

The team, made up of MU Alpha Omega President Julie Goff ‘21, Treasurer Brian Starcher ’21 (project lead), Vice President Morgan Stair ‘22, Secretary Mariah Aubihl ‘21, and Faculty Advisers Gregory and Katie Gamby, used an online fundraising system called Vertical Rise. Through this platform, they raised $907. SARTA then matched their funds dollar-for-dollar for a total of $1,814.

“MU Alpha Omega’s primary goal is to bring mental health awareness and prevention to both Malone and the surrounding community, so this service project was very fulfilling,” said Gregory. 

The bus passes will be donated to Haven of Rest and other homeless shelters in Stark and Summit Counties. Other annual projects completed by MU Alpha Omega include a vigil that brings awareness to a specific area of mental health and a mental wellness fair for undergraduate Malone students.