Fairfield University's MBA students launch food drive to benefit Operation Hope as part of national day of service


On Saturday, April 21, graduate students in Fairfield University's Charles F. Dolan School of Business will take part in a day of volunteer service by launching a food drive and restocking the shelves of Operation Hope of Fairfield County. It is part of the inaugural National Jesuit MBA Day of Service when every Jesuit MBA program across the country will give back to the community. The Dolan School's outreach effort will come after a weeklong food drive spearheaded by the students. From April 16 to April 21, students, staff and faculty are asked to bring non-perishable food (dry and canned) and drop them off in collection bins in Dolan School classrooms.

Fairfield is one of the 27 Jesuit universities nationwide offering graduate business programs participating in this first-ever Jesuit MBA Day of Service. Each school's master's degree candidates are taking on a different service work project. It is all part of the Jesuit tradition of educating the whole person while servicing the community in an attempt to move an individual from experience to reflection to action.

Norm Solomon, Ph. D. dean of the Dolan School, said service learning is an important part of the Dolan School. "It is inspired by the Catholic Jesuit educational mission of Fairfield University that calls for the dynamic integration of academic excellence, social responsibility, and faith that promotes justice."

Dr. Dana A. Wilkie, assistant dean and director of graduate programs for the Dolan School, said that there has been tremendous interest among the JesuitMBA Network, a consortium of the programs nationwide, in undertaking this day of service. "It was unanimous. It will undoubtedly be an event that we will do every year."

Ashley Boland, president of the Dolan School Graduate Business Association (DGBA), said that area food pantries receive an abundance of food during the winter months but lack the proper resources during the spring and summer to continue to feed the community.

Boland said, "Fairfield's Jesuit tradition reminds us that we have a responsibility to use our gifts and abilities to help those who are less fortunate. Over the course of my years at Fairfield, I have come to understand the importance of stepping out of my comfort zone to service the needs of the greater community. The MBA service day is both a reminder and an opportunity for graduate students to recognize these very needs."

Operation Hope provides a variety of helpful services to people who are homeless and at-risk of homelessness. A majority of program participants first contact Operation Hope when they are in need of assistance with housing, shelter and food. Often, they are already homeless. The Shelter and Food programs, which include a community kitchen and food pantry, offer emergency assistance.

Besides the National Day of Service, the Jesuit universities have another connection to one other. That is, they have a multilateral transfer agreement whereby MBA graduate students can transfer as many as 50% of credits needed for the degree to other Jesuit universities to complete their degrees. (Please visit www.JesuitMBA.org for a list of the schools.)

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on April 13, 2007

Vol. 39, No. 201