Campus Ministry establishes Community Week, beginning this Sunday: Community Day is revamped into Community Week to increase awareness for the Buffalo area    

By: Cameron Lareva

Assistant News Editor

Campus Ministry has transformed Community Day into Community Week for the 2018 Spring semester, to allow Canisius College “a week for service and solidarity for the Buffalo community” according to Darby Ratliff, Campus Ministry graduate assistant.

The change came about last year when campus ministers, graduate assistants, and undergraduate students came together to revamp Community Day. According to Ratliff, “We wanted to think about how we could help our partners beyond just one day of service.” Ratliff explained that they wanted Canisius to have more exposure to the Buffalo area and the organizations that partner with Community Week.

Community Week will begin with Mass on Sunday, March 11, and will conclude Saturday, March 17, with the Day of Service. Ratliff says, “We wanted to keep the tradition of having a service day within Community Week but we wanted there to be like a whole week of programming around the community.”

Each day of the week will feature different events that allow students to learn about various opportunities to get and remain involved in the community. Kevin Heffernan, a 2008 Canisius alumnus and current managing director of Rise Collaborative, will be the keynote speaker on Monday. He will be discussing how he applies his Canisius College background to staying active in the Buffalo community. Thursday will feature Griff Fair, which partnered with Community Week, and according to Ratliff will have, “community service oriented partners come and recruit volunteers and talk about what their organization is doing,” as well as internship opportunities for Canisius students.

Not only is Community Week partnered with local organizations, but on-campus Canisius clubs and organizations are also going to be involved. The Undergraduate Student Association is spreading awareness among the student body, and trying to increase attendance for Community Week events. The Women and Gender Studies Club and Peace Action are hosting a Big Brother Big Sister campus visit on Wednesday. Ratliff explains, “we found a place for any club that wanted to be involved.”

The event was marketed through traditional routes such as, posters, flyers, and library tabeling, but Ratliff also worked with Neil Savoy, Student Life graduate assistant, to encourage clubs to have group sign ups for the Day of Service. According to Ratliff, club sign ups are currently lower than previous years, but she hopes more clubs will sign up as the Day of Service gets closer. At one point, there was over five hundred students participating, however, student involvement has decreased among all campus activities. Ratliff isn’t sure if Community Week will be affected, saying “We’ll find out. I’m hoping it has not. I’m hoping people are curious enough and will still want to be involved.”

The Day of Service will end Community Week on Saturday, and students will volunteer at local organizations from 9:30 to 12:45 p.m. The organizations are all local and Ratliff says, “ its very hands on volunteering, like whatever a partner needs, so anything from working with kids to making a meal, to handing out donations.” There will be vans to provide transportation to some of the service sites from the campus, but students are encouraged to provide their own transportation. After the service time, lunch will be served for volunteers in Science Hall from West Side Bazaar.  

Ratliff encourages students to participate in Community Week in anyway possible, saying, “I think one of the benefits of doing a day of service is that people feel really connected to one another on campus.” Ratliff hopes all students will see the value in Community Week, explaining, “We’re asking you to think a little more about our community and Canisius’ role in the community.”

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