Join the 25th Annual Hunger Cleanup
Hunger Cleanup has become a Fairfield tradition, with hundreds of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and families joining together to volunteer for a half-day serve-a-thon at 40-plus local nonprofit agencies and sites.
Kristian Petric, who graduated in 2011 and is now pursuing his MBA in accounting at Fairfield, has been involved with Hunger Cleanup since he was a freshman and his RA pulled together a team of volunteers. “It was a great opportunity to get to know my neighbors in a different setting,” he said. “My favorite project was a beach clean-up we did my sophomore year. We really made a huge impact in such a beautiful setting.”
Projects are varied, from painting and spring cleaning to beach clean-up. In the past, Hunger Clean-Up has sent volunteers to local organizations such as Project Return, a residential and after school program for adolescent girls and young women, and Homes for the Brave, which provides safe housing, vocational training and job placement, and other services to help individuals, especially Veterans.
After the project, participants are invited to come back to campus for refreshments and prizes.
Hunger Cleanup is also part of the I Can Make a Difference/National Jesuit Alumni Service initiative, where Jesuit-educated alumni from across the country are volunteering in similar projects with other Jesuit colleges and universities. Alumni from any Jesuit institution are invited to join with Fairfield to make a difference in the Greater Bridgeport community.
Hunger Cleanup also raises funds for the organizations assisted by the volunteers. This year, a special event called “Dinner with the Stag Stars” has been created to jumpstart the fundraising. Three to four students have the opportunity to bid together to have dinner with a campus “celebrity”—such as University President Jeffrey von Arx, S.J.; Vice President for Administration & Chief of Staff Mark C. Reed '96; Alumni Chaplain Charles Allen, S.J., and other notable figures on campus.
The “Dinner with the Stag Stars” auction will be open at Einstein Bros Bagels in the Barone Campus Center on Wednesday, April 3, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
For many, the annual half-day of service has become a family affair. “My daughter and I volunteered at a homeless shelter in Bridgeport,” said Deirdre Bennett, Student Affairs account manager. “We did lots of yard work and had a chance to talk with some of the residents. After four hours of clean-up, we could really see an immediate, positive impact; the residents were so appreciative. And I met other alumni and their families, and students. It was a great experience and we plan to do it again this year.”
Petric recommends that alumni form volunteer teams together. “I would recommend this event to anybody affiliated with Fairfield. It is gratifying knowing you are part of a community who truly cares about giving back to those around them.”