The Meelia Center Welcomes the Community Back to Campus

October 22, 2021

By Emma McDonald '22

After a year of adapting to the everchanging COVID restrictions, the Meelia Center for Community Engagement staff is ecstatic to be hosting in-person events again including student body favorites such as Foster and Adoptive Parent Night Out (FAPNO) and Dance-a-thon.

“This academic year is a year of getting back into in person engagement and safely and effectively engaging in a way that is meaningful and impactful to our greater community, said Nickie Lora ’06, director of the Meelia Center.

After a year of virtual engagement, the need for students to engage with the greater Manchester community in-person has become clear. Lora, Katherine Carey ‘18, the assistant director of Meelia and Karina Hernandez ’21, a Meelia student leader, are using this year as an opportunity to help our student body understand the importance of community engagement and community-engaged learning. Hernandez says she is excited to show students who have not participated in all the Meelia events how rewarding experience is.

Community engagement is a core value at the Meelia Center but due to the pandemic, many students have not had the chance to participate in the more traditional volunteer experiences that Meelia offers. The center wants to show students the value they bring to the community.

One place where the benefit of in-person engagement has been noticeable is at local nursing homes. The nursing home residents rely on Saint Anselm students as a way to keep their minds active. “Being able to be back in person at the nursing homes is an essential part and speaks to how our students engage,” said Carey. “It serves as a reminder that there is real value and impact in engaging with these communities.”

The Meelia Center currently has 89 student staff members, 205 community engaged learners and 59 weekly volunteers. At their most recent event, the Dance-a-thon on Fri., Oct. 15, the 114 participants raised $1,734 for Nature Disaster Relief. The Meelia Center is always looking for new volunteers to support their programs. Students are encouraged to participate in monthly FAPNO events or Kid’s Cafe and to visit the Meelia Center located in the Roger and Francine Jean Student Center to learn more about ways to get involved on campus.

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