The boxes seen all around campus, decorated with beautiful designs, have a large mission on the horizon. Their contents, books with soon-to-be new homes, are going to be donated to the Allentown School District. From now until Dec. 1, book drop boxes can be found in Seegers Union, Moyer and Hillel, ready to accept book donations for children in kindergarten through high school. At the end of the semester, everything donated by professors and students will be gifted to different teachers in the district.
This initiative is one of two that the Education Society is currently working on, with the other being their book sale. Over these past few weeks, the members of the Education Society could be found all over campus, including Parents Plaza and the enACT clothing swap, with stacks of books to sell. These books spanned across several genres, ranging from beautiful hardcover classics, to poetry collections and cookbooks. All were sold to the campus community for no more than three dollars, giving local book-lovers new, affordable reading material while raising money for an important cause.
They’ve recently concluded their book sale for the semester, raising almost $1,000 between this semester and last. All of the money raised goes directly to the Allentown School District Foundation where it’s used for Arts and Science programs for students, directly impacting their educational opportunities.
Maddie Davidson ‘25, treasurer of the Education Society, discussed the source of this extensive library of books and why they were able to sell these books for such affordable prices. She detailed how a local Allentown community member, Phil, donated all of the books the organization used in their book sale. “First and foremost, Phil wanted the chance to give his books a second home that would love and care for them how he did,” said Davidson. The entire book sale and the subsequent funds that are being donated is possible due to the generosity of one local Allentown community member and his passion for bettering local educational opportunities.
Davidson also emphasized the importance of the specific books being exposed to Muhlenberg’s campus and how the Education Society hopes to align their efforts against extensive book banning campaigns across the nation: “We’re hoping our work directly combats ideals circulated through that [book-banning] campaign—we want our community to have access to all different kinds of material to inspire learning and growing and question-asking and head-scratching and together-time.”
The book drive also served as a symbol of gratitude towards the amazing teachers and administrators that do so much for the Muhlenberg Education Program. Education Society President Anna Holmwood ‘24, explains this appreciation for the Allentown School District. “The book drive has been a great way to connect with the schools in our local community and help support teachers that many of us have worked with through fieldwork placements in the past. Classroom libraries are a great way to encourage engagement in reading, so if there is anything Ed[ucation] society can do to work with teachers to build their libraries, we are happy to!”
Holmwood discusses the broader mission of the Education Society and their goals. “Education Society is a club for people who are interested in education or are on the education track! We seek to provide a community for those who hope to make change through education, partner with schools in the community and engage our members in conversations about education. We love to emphasize that the Education Society isn’t just a space for those on the education track!”
What’s next for the Education Society? They have a multitude of goals going forward, with their next initiative being to fill the free library in Cedar Beach Park once a week! Their goal is to collect books with diverse identities and to encourage readers in exploring unique experiences. Books being donated in their current book drive are going to be used for this initiative as seen fit. Stay tuned for all of the fantastic, important work that the Education Society is doing for Muhlenberg’s campus, as well as the greater Allentown community.