In keeping with Fairfield University’s core Jesuit value of being men and women for others, over 300 students, faculty, and staff came together to volunteer in the second annual community service day, Fairfield on Fire.
Fairfield on Fire is an important event because it pulls together students who want to make a difference in the community around us.
— Kathleen Byrnes, Campus Minister for Social Justice and Community Engagement
Organized by Campus Ministry, students had the opportunity to volunteer at the Green Village Initiatives in Bridgeport, Operation Hope Soup Kitchen and Shelter, Black Rock Food Pantry and Farmers Market, the Boys & Girls Club, and the Connecticut Food Bank. Fairfield University Students came together from various sports and organizations including FUSA, Wounded Warriors, Men’s Lacrosse, and the Residential Colleges.
“Fairfield on Fire is an important event because it pulls together students who want to make a difference in the community around us. Working on issues like hunger, homelessness, education for kids, and sustainable food, the students are able to immerse themselves in issues with a local partner,” stated Kathleen Byrnes, Campus Minister for Social Justice and Community Engagement. “In many cases, the students wind up returning to volunteer with the organizations because the fear of the unknown is lifted after their visit.”
During the service day, students were able to work in teams and help in a variety of ways including prepping meals, cleaning, planting gardens, and assisting guests. Students volunteering at Black Rock Food Pantry helped stock the pantry while students at the Boys and Girls Club helped organize the front desk. At Operation Hope Shelter, the Wounded Warriors Club helped clean up the exterior and plant fall plants while students at the soup kitchen helped prep 60 meals for guests.
FUSA and the various clubs were able to prepare a new community garden while volunteering at Green Village Initiatives, which will service local Bridgeport residents. Cara Gibbons, FUSA president and event volunteer, said “Students at Fairfield are constantly partaking in service projects in all forms as service to others is a value Fairfield University prides itself on. Attending a Jesuit Institution, men and women for others is at the base of everything we do. Fairfield on Fire allows students to come together as a cohesive unit and truly show our Stag pride while making a difference in our community."