Ivy Leaf - Spring 2003

Freshman Receives Service Award


If you've seen a student searching through campus trash cans at night, don't be alarmed. This isn't a fraternity prank nor an act of personal desperation. Rather, it is one student's way of making a difference in the community and for the world. Since beginning his college career at Penn State Altoona last fall, freshman Gabe Tilove has immersed himself in several high-impact community service endeavors, including his efforts at recycling plastics.

A freshman from Hulmeville, Pa., in Bucks County, Tilove is planning on majoring in environmental studies. He recently took the initiative to unofficially expand Penn State Altoona's recycling efforts to include plastics. From September to late November, Tilove spent ninety minutes each night, six nights per week, searching through campus trash cans for plastics. He then would place them in his car and drive to a local recycling facility. He estimates that he has taken more than seventy large-size black plastic trash bags to the facility.

While searching for the plastics, Tilove often is asked by students what he is doing. He takes time to explain, attempting to raise awareness and sensitivities about the importance of recycling. Through his recycling efforts, Tilove is trying to change behaviors and practices through his own sacrifices and actions. He performs his labor of love without any expectation of financial compensation or personal recognition.

Tilove is a shining example that one person can make a difference in the world. To faculty and staff on campus, he is viewed as an individual whose service to Penn State Altoona has enhanced the reputation of the institution and stimulated increased involvement of students, instructors, administrators, and alumni in the life of the campus. And for that service, he has been selected as the recipient of the 2003 Penn State Altoona Alumni Society Student Award for Outstanding Service.

Tilove's community commitment extends even further. As a member of the Board of Directors of Blair County Heritage, Inc., Tilove is currently involved in two projects. The first, known as "The River Project," will restore a working train stop in Tyrone. Plans call for the beautification of the site and restoration of the bridge leading to the site. During the project, Tilove will join other volunteers in cleaning brush and then planting evergreen trees to prevent erosion.

The second project sponsored by the Heritage Corporation will result in the restoration of the Tyrone YMCA Auditorium. In addition to assisting with fundraising efforts for the project, Tilove has been asked to enlist the services of the Penn State Altoona String Orchestra for a future concert.

Tilove also is a volunteer at the Second Avenue Baptist Church in Altoona where he and three other Penn State Altoona students interact and supervise children ages 10 to 12 who visit the church one night per week after school. The program is open to any child, but participants generally are latch-key children. The children often are looking to spend time with anyone who will show interest in listening to their daily activities. For Tilove, the most rewarding aspect of his involvement is showing the children that there are people in the world who care about them.

As a recipient of the Alumni Society Student Award for Outstanding Service, Tilove was recognized at the Student Awards Ceremony in May, and his name has been inscribed on a plaque that is permanently displayed on campus.