By Liz Friden
Hundreds of Catholic University students were assigned to locations all around the Washington, DC area for Mother Teresa Day of Service, Sunday morning.
581 volunteers signed up on the campus ministry website to volunteer . Most of these volunteers were students who signed up as a group under the 13 sports teams or 15 student organizations who registered. They were told to meet in Heritage Hall at 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning. They were served breakfast before taking off to their service sites and were fed lunch once back on campus. Many of the sites students went to are sites where service opportunities are offered every week through Campus Ministry.
Harrison Hanvey, an assistant Campus Minister, explained the process of finding service sites. “Basically they are mostly groups that we have had relationships with for years, as well as a few new groups that we learn about through other people,” Hanvey said.
Catholic University’s women and men’s rowing teams joined President Garvey and Mrs. Garvey at Carroll Manor Sunday morning.
“I really enjoyed today because we were all together, not in a competitive place, but a place where we got to be genuine and intimate with other people!” said rower Trystan Crichton. “The Garvey’s being there also helped make us feel that rowing was a legitimate sport and validated our team.”
Women from Unanue House and Ryan Hall volunteered at the Anacostia River. They spent the day helping the Anacostia Watershed Society with one of their meadow restoration projects which included digging up weeds, collecting trash and planting threatened species in order to create more diversity in the meadow.
The cross country and track teams were assigned to serve at the New York Avenue Emergency Men’s Shelter, a “low barrier shelter” which does not have a lot of requirements to stay there. At most homeless shelters there is a waitlist, paperwork, identification, or drug tests etc. that determine if the men, women, or children can stay at the shelter or not. At this particular shelter owned by the DC Government and contracted to Catholic Charities, the only barrier is a metal detector to make sure the men do not bring any weapons with them into the shelter. In order to stay at the shelter, men must be older than 18, but the shelter does not require identification.
There are 360 cots for the 360 men the shelter hosts every night. Three people work on the maintenance crew to clean up after all 360 men, every day, during the 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. window that the shelter is closed and empty. Since there is not enough staff to completely scrub down the beds, on Sunday morning and Track & Field teams deep cleaned the shelter. They grabbed spray bottles, clean rags and scrubbed everything from the floors to the ceiling.
Campus Ministry values this day of service because it is important for students to know their neighbors and serve them. It was an eye opening and educational experience for a lot of students.
The result of more than a month of planning, Mother Teresa Day of Service required about 20 student organizers to help with the daily logistics for the event. The formal name for this group of Campus Ministry volunteers is Cardinal Service Corps. Senior marketing major Erin Lynch is a leader for S.O.M.E. So Others May Eat. Lynch arrived at Heritage Hall early Sunday morning to help with set up.
“It was awesome to see so many people serve, but would be more awesome to see more people get involved with weekly service,” Lynch explained. “The day of service is just a taste of how many opportunities there are to serve our community.”
Contributions by Kat Kaderabek