February 28, 2017
Communications and Marketing
SBA 2017 student leaders: (back row, from left) Michael Ryan '17, Joseph K. Smith '18, Christine Balquist '17, Brenda Keys '17, Jeffrey James '17, Maggie Harrington '17; (front row, from left) Nicole Francischelli '18, Griffin Fraser '18, Caroline Trickett '18, Kelsey LeBlanc '17, Kayla Patten '17, Katie Gemmell '17, Sara Peppler '17, Clara King '17.
During spring break, 95 Saint Anselm College students will travel to seven sites throughout the United States to serve others in solidarity as part of the 27th year of Service and Solidarity Missions.
Campus Ministry's week-long service trips began in 1991 with a trip to Orland, Maine. Under the tutelage of campus minister Dan Leahy, 19 student participants lived and worked in the Emmaus Community, called HOME, where they engaged in hands-on volunteer service at the rural co-op. As much as the participants gave in service, they received much more from the people of the community.
Service to humanity is an essential precept of the Benedictine community that defines the mission of Saint Anselm College. The college's compassion and commitment to assisting people has earned it the rank of sixth in the nation "Most Engaged in Community Service," according to The Princeton Review. Student-leader Caroline Trickett '18 said that the service and volunteer efforts of students "truly reflect what it means to be Anselmian."
This spring, Trickett, a nursing major, will co-lead a trip to New York City, where working in coordination with God's Love We Deliver, her group will provide assistance to men, women, and children living with serious illnesses like AIDS and cancer. By preparing and delivering meals to many afflicted individuals, she hopes that she and her fellow participants will "build strong bonds with those they serve and with those they serve alongside." Trickett added that on these service trips, "a community is built, no matter the background or life circumstances of people involved."
In addition to the New York City trip, participants will volunteer at various sites in the communities of Ridgely, Md.; Orland, Maine; Vanceburg, Ky.; and Aberdeen, Miss. Student volunteers will also travel to Newark, N.J. and Pine Ridge, S.D. Each service group will be led by a pair of Saint Anselm students, many of whom have volunteered on past service trips.
At Saint Benedict's Preparatory School in New Jersey, students will see a familiar face while servicing the local community. Dr. Ivan Lamourt, who graduated from Saint Anselm College in 1982, is currently the director of Counseling at Saint Benedict's. Participants will assist Dr. Lamourt and the teachers by providing a valuable in-class resource for the students. They will also support the surrounding community through different projects, including volunteering at a local soup kitchen.
Senior education studies major Kayla Patten is looking forward to leading SBA New Jersey and "spreading the spirit of Saint Anselm" to those she serves. She is most looking forward to meeting and tutoring the students of Saint Benedict's.
Patten explained that service trips like SBA enable volunteers to open their minds and hearts to new perspectives and issues regarding social justice. "It is my hope that after the trip, Saint Anselm students will feel a healthy responsibility to be a voice for those we serve and offer their talents to better help people on the margins of society," she said.
"I try to leave some of the Benedictine Hallmarks wherever I am. For example, the idea of Ora et Labora (prayer and work) and stability are pillars of Saint Anselm that, I feel, need to be shared with the greater community," said Patten.
In South Dakota, student volunteers will work with the Oglala Lakota people at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, while learning about their culture and history through nightly reflections and a tour of their reservation. Communication major Jeffrey James '17, who is co-leading the trip to Pine Ridge, is looking forward to learning about the Lakota people while assisting them with projects, including building bunk beds and repairing roofs.
After participating in three Service and Solidarity trips, James felt that "it was time to give back to the program by helping to lead a trip during my senior year."
"The best parts of this program, such as serving those in need, acquiring knowledge about the culture of the Lakota people, and a renewed sense of purpose about our place in the world and the responsibilities we have, are things that make the Service and Solidarity program so successful," he said. "If we can continue to produce people that go on these trips and choose to effect change because of what they have experienced, then we will have accomplished our goals."
Story by Jonathan Burkart '18