Service is all about the “little word love”, said senior Elizabeth Hooban as she gave the kick off talk for the 5th annual Caldwell Day on Sept. 20. Members of the campus community gathered to listen to Hooban before they headed out to non-profits and churches for the day of service. Hooban shared how during her college career she had “life changing experiences” through volunteering and she learned that service “is not about working for others, but with others”.
Classes were cancelled and non essential offices were closed so that students, faculty and staff could take part in community service, which is one of the college’s Catholic Dominican pillars.
Freshmen Sarah Byrne, Romell Ballentine, Catherine Carlson and Eric Strumph volunteered at the American Red Cross North Jersey Region Montclair Community service site where they organized holiday mail for the troops serving in Afghanistan. Byrne said it felt good to know “we’re doing something for someone who is doing something for us.” Lindsay Hulin, a senior, said it was a really good reminder that there are “still people fighting for us.” Human Resources Director Michelle Stauss helped the group get in the spirit by playing Christmas music from her phone as they compiled cards and put ribbons and notes together for the men and women serving overseas. The Red Cross Manager of Volunteer Services for Essex County Eileen Painter was thrilled with the energy from the Caldwell University group. It is great to “breathe new life” into the work because the future of the organization “depends on the youth,” she said.
Demetrest Francois, a senior, volunteered outside the Stop & Shop in West Caldwell where a group collected food for the Caldwell Food Pantry. “It was a great experience,” he said, and it was “awesome” to be able to go to the pantry to drop off the food, see the need, and then “literally fill the room up” with what they collected.
Ellen Johnson, reference librarian, enjoyed spending her time at Marian Manor where she and others cleaned rooms for senior citizens, but more importantly spent time listening to them talk about their families and their lives.
Perhaps the day was best summed up by Alexandria Pascucci, who received her bachelor’s at Caldwell and is now a graduate student. She has taken part in all five of the annual Caldwell Days. “The whole college is given this opportunity to change someone’s life and you can do that in a day,” she said.
President Nancy Blattner initiated Caldwell Day on campus in 2009 when she began at the college.
Caldwell Day was organized by Meghan Moran and Tim Kessler-Cleary in the office of student activities and volunteer outreach.
The nonprofits they assisted included:
Site locations and duties include:
Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Hillside
Essex County Environmental Center, Roseland
Our Lady Help of Christians School, East Orange
Caldwell Public Library
Mount Pleasant Animal Shelter, West Orange, NJ
Roseland United Methodist Church, Roseland, NJ
Borough of Essex Fells, N.J.
American Red Cross, Montclair
St. Aloysius Church Religious Education, Caldwell, NJ
Caldwell Environmental Commission
Essex County Environmental Commission
Marian Manor, Caldwell, NJ
Kingsland Manor, Nutley, NJ