Staying home for Spring Break: Students learn about poverty in their own back yard

While many of their classmates are enjoying sunny climes this week, after an unusually cold and snowy winter, nine Fairfield University students have traveled 10 minutes east to learn what life is like for the poor in neighboring Bridgeport.

The students are part of this year's "Urban Plunge," a program begun more than 10 years ago by Fairfield University's Campus Ministry on the Jesuit campus. Melissa Reardon, assistant university chaplain who is leading the group, says the purpose of the program is to help students understand poverty and see the drastic differences that exist between people living in the same region.

The program is both educational and service oriented. The students will prepare dinner for a homeless shelter and help with an after-school program for inner-city youth, in addition to other outreach programs. Speakers from the Bridgeport School System; Ground Work Bridgeport, an urban revitalization program; the New Haven Catholic Worker; and Center Edge, a project of the Social Justice Office of the Bridgeport Diocese's Catholic Family Services, are among the people the students are meeting with during a week of studying the various aspects and causes of poverty.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647,

Posted on March 10, 2003

Vol. 35, No. 230

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