As the nation celebrated Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday on Jan. 19, the Jasper community planned its first ever collegewide Day of Service to honor King's legacy.
Drawing parallels between the College's Lasallian mission and King's call to serve others, Campus Ministry and Social Action (CMSA)‚ organized the Day of Service, encouraging individuals and groups of students to sign up for projects around the city.
"We're looking to strengthen our existing partnerships with organizations like City Harvest, United Neighborhood Housing Project (UNHP) and the Methodist Home here in Riverdale," says Kathleen Von Euw, coordinator of community partnerships and service.
While more than 75 students signed up to take part, an unforeseen snowstorm on Saturday, Jan. 24 forced many of the service sites to cancel programming.
Despite the weather, 25 resilient Jaspers were still able to participate.
A group of students in Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), the education honor society, bagged and distributed food at a City Harvest 'mobile market,' while a dozen business students in Beta Alpha Psi, the accounting honor society, trained with UNHP to help low-income individuals prepare their income tax returns. Another group of students completed a cleaning project for their elderly neighbors at the Methodist Home.
"Personally, it was really nice to do something for the community that has become like a second home," says Caitlin Palumbo '15, a dual education and special education major, and co-president of the College's KDP chapter. "The Bronx is home for many Jaspers during the majority of the year. Reaching out to the community and giving back was really special, and we can't wait to go back and help out again!"
Von Euw is busy rescheduling many of the projects that fell through due to the snow, and is confident that Manhattan's growing partnerships will present more opportunities like the MLK Day of Service in the future.
Most prominent will be the Lasallian Outreach Collaborative (L.O.Co.), a new program run out of the CMSA office, which will provide options for students interested in participating in community service on a regular weekly basis.
"This is deeply tied to our Lasallian mission, which calls us to be in solidarity with the poor, advocate for those suffering from injustices and practice inclusive community," Von Euw says. "Through community engagement, we can live out our Lasallian mission more authentically by honoring the dignity of all individuals and thinking critically about the world in light of faith."