Students like Briana Burke '13, Lauren O'Halloran '13 and Lauren Bombardier '13 take Stonehill's mission to heart. Looking to embed an element of service into their everyday lives, the three students decided to apply for special interest housing through the College's Office of Residence Life. Based in Essex House, the new Students of Service house is home to ten female students this year.
The group plans to complete 30 hours of community service each semester and schedules two volunteer events each month, one solely for house members and the other for the entire Stonehill community to take part in. Director of Community Based Learning Corey Dolgon serves as the group's faculty advisor.
In September, the group volunteered at the College's Farm and in October, they assisted the Children's Museum in Easton with its Halloween Romp. For their community-wide event, the Students of Service House collected donations for Big Brothers Big Sisters in September and in October they collected Halloween costumes for local homeless shelters. Over Columbus Day Weekend, members of the house traveled to rural Orland, Maine to work with a community called H.O.M.E. (Homeworkers Organized for More Employment). The organization provides shelter, food, child care and job and craft training to those who are in need. Accompanying them was their staff leader Janine DiLorenzo '11, an AmeriCorps VISTA.
"Aligning our work with the mission of the College to create a more just and compassionate world, we spent the weekend reflecting, doing service, engaging ourselves with the community, and learning more about the social injustices in our area," said Bombardier.
Among the many tasks the group completed included cooking for the soup kitchen, organizing and cleaning a thrift store affectionately named the "Bargain Barn," working in the child care center, and harvesting wood for wood stoves to prepare for the winter months. Each of the house members preformed over 20 hours of volunteer work, resulting in over 200 hours of service.
The special interest housing program was created to support lifestyles and educational programs that uplift residence hall living for individual student groups. Special interest housing groups enhance the connection between academic and student life at the College. As part of the spring housing selection process, groups of students may initiate projects around a common interest and request to live together for the year. In such a setting, students learn from each other and share their knowledge with the greater Stonehill community.
Much like the Students of Service house, a group of male students came together to create the Men for Others special interest house last year. The eight male students spent their final year at the College immersed in the mission of My Brother's Keeper and Stonehill by giving back. To read a reflection by one of the members of the Men for Others house, visit here.
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