Fairfield University and the City of Bridgeport announce internship collaboration


For more than a dozen Fairfield University students, a return to class this week may involve a slightly longer commute. Instead of crossing the 200-acre campus in Fairfield, the students will be traversing I-95 or hopping on Metro-North to begin their spring semester internships for the City of Bridgeport.

Image: Bridgeport initiative

An internship initiative, announced Wednesday, January 23, 2013, during a celebratory event in the Bridgeport Mayor's Office, is the result of months of discussion in which Fairfield University and City of Bridgeport officials worked collaboratively to build on the economic development priorities of the City and, at the same time, enhance the educational opportunities for Fairfield students.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to receive hands-on experience with the workings of a major city across a spectrum of departments and areas of focus," said Fairfield University President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J. "We emphasize at Fairfield just how important it is for real-world experience to be integrated with the classroom, so this partnership is ideal in that respect. We also feel that this is an opportunity for our University to contribute to the City of Bridgeport, to put ourselves to work in the service of the city's growth and development, and to actively and concretely express how fortunate we feel that we are to be a part of the fabric of the city and the Greater Bridgeport area."

"This internship initiative is another fine example of our proud partnership with Fairfield University, and we are thrilled to have so many students participating this semester," said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. "This program will allow students an opportunity to gain real-world experience prior to graduation, which is very important, especially in the current economic environment."

The students, all in their senior year at Fairfield University, will be working in a variety of City departments and offices including the Office of the Mayor (Communications), Animal Shelter, City Attorney, Human Resources (Labor Relations, Civil Service), and Sustainability.

For Fairfield University, this initiative is part of a long-term and larger commitment to its neighboring city, and there are already in place myriad ties to Bridgeport. "Nearly 100 of our faculty and staff live and raise their families in Bridgeport, and there are more than 1,100 Fairfield alumni who live and or work here. In addition, the Webster Bank Arena is home court for the Fairfield Stags basketball program. So in every important respect the health and vibrancy of the City of Bridgeport and that of Fairfield University go hand in hand," said Father von Arx.

Many Fairfield students already are at work in Bridgeport, teaching in the city schools, working in the city's healthcare network, and volunteering in a variety of social service and other non-profit agencies. "Certainly we hope that our students, all of whom are energetic, hard-working, dedicated, and determined to be of service, will prove to be of value to Bridgeport during their time here," said Father von Arx, "and will repay the city for the faith it is placing in them."

Father von Arx said the University is launching a new Master's in Public Administration program this fall, a program that will offer even more opportunities to engage with Bridgeport and for students to become involved. "The Fairfield University community looks forward to expanding the internship program in the future, and to all of the other opportunities to work in partnership with Bridgeport," he said.

Image: A group of Fairfield University students participating in an internship collaboration between Fairfield University and the City of Bridgeport joined Fairfield University President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J. and Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch at yesterday's announcement of the initiative in the Mayor's Office in downtown Bridgeport, CT. Pictured (left to right): Sean Livingston '15, Sarah Bennett '14, Amanda Lynch '13, Michael Ring '13, Nicole Migliaccio '13, Fairfield University President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., Monica Mosho '13, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, and Patrick Cooney '13.

For further information, contact Martha Milcarek, Fairfield University, (203) 254-4190, mmilcarek@fairfield.edu or Elaine Ficarro, Office of the Mayor, (203) 576-7931, Elaine.Ficarra@Bridgeportct.gov

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Media Contact: Mike Horyczun, (203) 254-4000 ext. 2647, mhoryczun@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 24, 2013

Vol. 45, No. 159