2016 in Review: Anselmians Give Back

To be an Anselmian is to give back. In 2016, The Princeton Review ranked Saint Anselm College sixth in the nation for students most engaged in community service. During the 2015-16 academic year, students contributed at least 20,197 hours of service. Below, we have featured some of the causes, groups, and individuals who help to represent the ways in which Anselmians have given back to our local and global community.

Students Serve at Home and Abroad over Winter and Spring Breaks

For 26 years, the Office of Campus Ministry has provided students opportunities to serve the world through the Service and Solidarity program.

This year, over 200 Anselmians served those in need in the United States and Costa Rica during winter and spring breaks.

108 students rang-in the new year by traveling to eight regions of the U.S. in January for Winter Break Alternative (WBA). The students volunteered at sites in Appalachia, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Washington, D.C., and New York.

A group of students served Manchester’s refugees, while others served meals at soup kitchens, renovated homes, worked at schools, and helped elderly and underprivileged children.

In February, 128 students and two faculty members departed to nine host agencies as close as Orland, Maine and as far as Costa Rica for Spring Break Alternative. The nine groups dispersed, building and renovating houses, teaching in schools, providing disaster relief, and serving and delivering food.

“Being socially aware and just are at the core of who we are as a Catholic college,” said Director of Campus Ministry, Susan Gabert. “These trips help with the formation of our students and opens their eyes to how others live. This gives them the opportunity to explore their spirituality, meaning of life, and how they interact with others.”

College Raises Nearly $96,000 during Relay for Life

Relay For Life 2016

The Saint Anselm College community raised a record-breaking $95,974 for the American Cancer Society this April at its ninth-annual Sr. Pauline Lucier Relay for Life. Fifty-five teams of students, faculty, and staff gathered in the Carr Center for the all-night event dedicated to honoring survivors and those who have lost their battles with cancer, as well as raising money and awareness for cancer research and services.

The college’s Relay for Life is named in honor of Sr. Pauline Lucier, C.S.C., a former Campus Minister at the college who passed away from cancer in May 2009. In 2008, Sr. Pauline was a champion of this event, serving as the Grand Marshal. This year, Health Services staff member and cancer survivor Kristina Wilson was the 2016 Grand Marshal. She led the “survivor’s lap” with her children and 962 participants by her side.

Events every hour throughout the night included musical chairs, tug-of-war, and limbo, as well as the popular hair donation through Pantene's “Beautiful Lengths” program to create wigs for women battling cancer.

Students Deliver Food, Furniture, and Clothing to Families in Need

FCF student-volunteersThirty-five student-volunteers headed home for the summer a few days later than their peers, distributing gently-used items in good condition to families in need of Manchester, Nashua, and Concord N.H. during the annual student-run Food, Clothing, and Furniture (FCF) drive.

Seventy couches, 15 microwaves, clothes, tables, lamps, kitchenware, and one homemade birthday cake were just a few of the items that Saint Anselm College students collected from students as they cleaned out their residence hall rooms and apartments for the summer. The drive also collected items from faculty, staff, and local alumni.

“The amount the college community gives us is incredible. To go from serving 60 families a few years ago to 100 shows that people are really willing to help,” said FCF leader Hannah O'Halloran ’16.

44 Students Walk 130 Miles for Charity

Road For Hope 2016

For the eighteenth year, Saint Anselm students walked 130 back to campus from Lewiston, Maine—rain or shine—to raise money for nine deserving charities in Maine and New Hampshire as part of the annual Road for Hope (RFH).

This year, forty-four students raised over $24,000, walking a route first imagined by Fr. Seamus Griesbach, a Maine native and Saint Anselm College alumnus, who mapped and walked the road that has evolved into the current-day program. Along their journey, participants were visited by representatives from the charities for which they raise money, learning about the charities’ needs, long term and short term.

“We experience the true humility of this effort through physical, mental, and spiritual ups and downs,” said Katie Gemmell '17. “Whether in faith or in doubt, all the walkers believe in the way of the walk—knowing that every footstep makes a difference."

Students Raise Awareness of Hunger and Homelessness

This November, the Meelia Center for Community Engagement led the college community in observing Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, hosting events to engage the college community in a dialogue about social issues surrounding homelessness and world hunger.

Students led the community in eye-opening discussion panels, volunteer opportunities, and Oxfam Hunger Banquet. To end the week, students created makeshift shelters and “slept-out” on the Alumni quad in solidarity with the homeless, to raise awareness of those for whom “sleeping-out” is a daily reality.

“Community engagement is more than service; it is a call to be an active community member and citizen,” said Assistant Director of the Meelia Center for Community Engagement Nicole Lora '06. “This week provides information and education to students about getting involved in a variety of ways and as a member of a larger community.”

College Donates Record Number of Thanksgiving Dinner Baskets

Thanksgiving baskets are brought into the Abbey ChurchFor 14 years, the Saint Anselm College community has come together to donate Thanksgiving dinners for local underprivileged community of Merrimack Valley, N.H. in the form of a Thanksgiving basket. The baskets of whole uncooked turkeys, stuffing, potatoes, breads, vegetables, pies, beverages, decorations and more are communed in the Abbey church the Monday before Thanksgiving, blessed, and sent to families in need. This year, a record number of 142 Thanksgiving baskets were donated, surpassing the 121 baskets provided in 2015.

Baskets are distributed by New Hampshire Catholic Charities and the Merrimack Valley Assistance Program (MVAP). Resettled families from Africa, North, South and Latin America, and Puerto Rico are recipients of Thanksgiving baskets via the Merrimack Valley Assistance Program (MVAP).

“The year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis ended yesterday, chronologically,” said Dr. Steven R. DiSalvo, president of the college, “but there is no end to mercy and opening one's heart.”