Quinnipiac University College of Arts and Sciences

Giving Back to Our Community

In Event, Faculty on April 23, 2013 at 12:50 pm

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By Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox, Assistant Professor of Legal Studies

In the spirit of community action, service and initiative we hope to see in our students, several Quinnipiac faculty members including Jill Martin, Deborah Clark, Diane Ariza, Xi Chen, Nancy Burns, Karen Bliss, Courtney Marchese, and Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox came together to give back to the community as part of the Big Event on Saturday, April 6, 2013.

The Big Event is a day of service organized and run by students in universities and colleges across the nation to express gratitude to the local community. The students form teams that participate in a variety of largely non-profit community organizations dedicated to issues such as social justice, children and elderly services, and health initiatives, among others. We hope this day provides students with more than an artificial engagement with community action. Perhaps instead this will be one of many opportunities for students to become involved in their local community, understand the importance of community action, and grasp the reality that so many community members are struggling to meet the most basic needs.

Our team was assigned to assist Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS). When we initially arrived, we were greeted by Deputy Director, Kelly Hebrank, who explained the organization’s invaluable work on behalf of immigrants. IRIS has been instrumental in resettling immigrants who have been classified as refugees by the United Nations because they face persecution in their own home countries. A large number of recent refugees seeking assistance in Connecticut have come from the Congo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. IRIS provides services that include provision of housing, job assistance, community and cultural orientation, and language classes.

We were asked to clear out one of the rooms used to store donations of clothes, dishes, and linens, among other items, which we then delivered to the Helping Hands Community Thrift Store and Furniture Bank. Though this may seem like a small task, it was actually a crucial means to create an additional classroom for language and cultural orientation. Through our work, we realized that even a small effort can provide a essential service for those in need.

We enjoyed learning about the important work IRIS has undertaken. Moreover, it was a privilege to have the opportunity to play a small role in welcoming the newest members of our own community!

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