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Compassionate Community Service is a Theme of 10th Annual Caldwell Day

Caldwell-Service1
Caldwell University Students polishing and arranging the shoe during Community Service Day.
Caldwell University doing a video shoot Caldwell Service Day.
Caldwell University Students cleaning a front yard during Caldwell Service Day.
Caldwell Students preparing wonderful postcard for the sisters at Caldwell University during a Service day.
Group photo Caldwell University faculty and students outside the Caldwell Pollinator Garden during a service day.
Caldwell University faculty members and students group photo.
Caldwell University student Suman Thapa carrying pillow and sheets during Caldwell Service Day.
Shore Chapter Volunteers

Caldwell, N.J. – Oct. 1, 2018 – While volunteering at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, student Sagar Basaula decided to take 10 minutes out to walk around and look closely at what the other Caldwell students and faculty and staff members were doing on the warehouse floor. “Everyone was packing boxes with love and compassion because they genuinely wanted to,” he said.  Basaula’s group put together 506 boxes for 506 families as part of the university’s annual day of service, Caldwell Day.

Basaula was one of approximately 230 members of the Caldwell campus community who took part in the 10th annual event on Sept. 28 for which classes are canceled and participants volunteer at nonprofit organizations in Essex County and elsewhere in the state.

Nancee Roth, coordinator of tutoring services, and student Emmanuel Steplight visited the homebound through St. Aloysius parish in Caldwell. Roth said the people they visited appreciated any communication; they were happy to have someone listen to them and to receive a compliment. The takeaway for Roth was that a smile or a positive comment can mean a great deal even in a simple encounter like meeting someone in the store. She appreciated volunteering with Steplight, who is blind. “The spirit she brings, the kindness she shows inspires me. She indicated that through this experience she wants to continue visiting the homebound,” said Roth.

Quinn DeLaRosa and Bianca Ho served at FilmAcademy360 in Livingston, which teaches high school and college age students on the autism spectrum skills in filmmaking, video editing, game creation, and graphic arts. The two assisted the academy staff in producing a video by handling production duties such as running the teleprompter, operating the camera and coaching the learners in on-air skills. For Ho, who is planning to work in the art therapy field, the most important aspect was how she quickly felt a part of the learners’ community. “They helped us easily know their world.” DeLaRosa was moved by how the learners were comfortable being themselves. “To see how cheerful these people are shows how much we overcomplicate things.”

David DiIanni, director of the academy, said having the Caldwell volunteers was very good for his students because they learn to engage with people from the community.  It is beneficial for the learners to work with peer mentors, he said, and it is helpful to the academy to make connections to build their program.

Cathy Lundquist, an adjunct faculty member in education, volunteered at Our Lady Help of Christians in East Orange and met Sister Pat Hogan, O.P., the principal— “an amazing woman. I was grateful and honored to have worked with her.”

Many of the Caldwell volunteers were inspired by the care and commitment they saw from those who run the nonprofits. Student Deanne Murray served at the historic Kingsland Manor in Nutley and was impressed with the passion of staff members, who “enjoyed restoring, inviting everyone in, and know the history.” Madison Perry worked with the Caldwell Environmental Center, moving mulch, pulling up weeds, and cleaning.  “I saw a lot of passion from those who work at the pollinator garden.” As a biology major, she was happy to experience a variety of bugs, plants, and species.

A group of alumni from the Shore Chapter, along with Sharon Dwyer from the university’s Development and Alumni Affairs Office, volunteered at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic School in Asbury Park, NJ doing art projects and helping out in the classrooms.

Colleen O’Brien, director of campus ministry, said the university engages in volunteerism as part of its Catholic Dominican mission of service. St. Dominic stressed “the importance of bringing light to a world in darkness,” she said, and the university encourages members of its community to do that in whatever way they are called whether in service or in other walks of life.

The other nonprofits they served were:

The Caldwell Fire Department

Jefferson Elementary School

Grover Cleveland Park Conservancy

Caldwell Public Library

Academy 360 Lower School

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Essex Fells, NJ

Volunteers also took part in campus cleanup and preparation for the Midnight Run in New York City. Caldwell University President Nancy Blattner began Caldwell Day her first year at Caldwell in 2009 as part of the mission of the Catholic Dominican university.  One of the four Dominican pillars is service.

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Journalist, poet Judith Valente to present “Who Is This Dude Called Benedict?” on St. Benedict at Caldwell University

Journalist, poet Judith Valente headshot photo Why are people in the age of Snapchat still reading a slender text written by a monk who lived at the end of the Roman Empire? Perhaps because that time isn’t so different from our own, contends poet, journalist and author Judith Valente, who will speak in the Alumni Theater at Caldwell University at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4. “The ‘Rule of St. Benedict,’ originally written for people in monasteries, is still one of the best guides for discovering what truly matters in life,” said Valente.

Her talk, “Who Is This Dude Called Benedict?,” is part of the Sister Maura Campbell, O.P., lecture series presented by the university’s Theology/Philosophy Department. Valente will tell how “The Rule,” with its emphasis on listening “with the ear of the heart,” simplicity, community, balance, prayer and praise, changed her from a hard-charging workaholic into an “everyday contemplative” and how the timeless wisdom of St. Benedict offers a way forward from the divisions sweeping our country.

Valente is an award-winning print and broadcast journalist who has been a regular contributor to the national PBS-TV news program “Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.” Her work has appeared on PBS-TV’s “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer.” She is a commentator for National Public Radio and Chicago Public Radio for which she covers religion, interviews poets and authors, and is a guest essayist.

She has authored a number of books; her most recent is “How to Live: What the Rule of St. Benedict Teaches Us About Happiness, Meaning and Community,” which explores Benedictine spirituality.

The lecture series is named after Sister Maura Campbell, O.P., a Sister of St. Dominic of Caldwell. She was a theologian, philosopher, professor, researcher and national leader in education whose scholarship and teaching spanned 50 years.

For further information, call 973-618-3931.

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“The State of American Politics and the 2018 Midterm Elections” with Correspondent Steve Kornacki

Mr. Steve Kornacki in his studio.

Correspondent Steve Kornacki will present at Caldwell on Sept. 20. Photo credit Anthony J Scutro

 Caldwell, N.J., Sept. 6, 2018 – “The State of American Politics and the 2018 Midterm Elections” with NBC News and MSNBC national political correspondent Steve Kornacki will be the topic of a forum 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, at Caldwell University.

The program will be presented by Caldwell University’s Faculty Commission on World Concerns in the Alumni Theatre on campus. It will be moderated by Domenic Maffei, Ph.D., professor of political science, and John Yurko, professor of communication and media studies.

Kornacki’s work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Roll Call, the New York Times and other news outlets. His book “The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism” will be available beginning Oct. 2.

Admission to the event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited. For more information, contact Alison Self at aself@caldwell.edu.