Bronx and Beyond: Student Clubs Give Back This Spring Break



This spring break, Jaspers will be engaging in philanthropic activities in the local community and even in other countries.

Above, a collection box for Engineers Without Borders' service trip to Cameroon. Photo by Michelle DePinho.
Above, a collection box for Engineers Without Borders’ service trip to Cameroon. Photo by Michelle DePinho.

Engineers Without Borders, a co-curricular club established by a few engineering students several years ago, has been slowly expanding in the School of Engineering. For the last few years, the club’s executive board has been raising money to build a bridge in Cameroon, Africa. The team will be making a trip to Cameroon to analyze and evaluate the location before implementing an engineering design for the first time this spring.  A project this scale would help more than 5,000 residents in the country and would also help the villagers travel more efficiently while connecting the Affiampara and Mbiribua. The estimated cost of the project is still being calculated, but the team has fundraised close to $9,000.

“We are very excited to make this trip and meet our contacts in Cameroon,” said David Pecorini, one of the founders and leaders of the program. “Our philosophy is to use our skills to help people in need, and this trip is one huge step towards turning our philosophy into reality.”

Students also started a MedLife chapter at MC in efforts to promote medicine, education, and development to various low-income and disadvantaged organizations and communities in places such as India, Latin America, and Africa. The organization’s mission states that “MEDLIFE believes access to quality healthcare is a basic human right.” Students get involved by taking various volunteer trips and by raising funds to promote their cause.

“My club is going to be participating in a community development project his March in Lima, Peru,” said Stephanie Nava, president of MEDLIFE at MC. “We will be building a staircase and are able to sponsor the project through the generous donation from Sophia Prentzas Church.”

Locally, students continue to be active in a variety of start-up volunteering pursuits.

In response to some schools have low academics in the local community, Jaspers worked to start Project Rousseau, an academic centered program, in Manhattan College.  Still in the process of being fully recognized by Student Activities, Project Rousseau is a philanthropic national organization, aimed at motivating students to pursue their full potential in their academics and in their personal lives. The program matches a college student with a struggling high school student in a mentorship.

According to their mission, “Our goal is to prepare our students to realize their full potential and pursue higher education. We strive to give every mentee the opportunity of a college education.”

“I was given an opportunity to spearhead a great young organization and make a positive impact beyond just Manhattan College in a new and interesting way, and I took it,” Diana Luzuriaga, one of the founders of this program, said.

A recent alumni and fellow Jaspers worked together to start a business to promote education in the Bronx. The newly started company, Save Your City, is a clothing line that helps fund education to poor, disadvantaged schools by selling their products and by raising donations.  The company has donated many products, equivalent to a few thousand dollars, to locally disadvantaged schools such as PS 294 and PS 91; a recent donation includes more than 2,000 library books. Currently, the business is quickly emerging in the community, especially within the Jasper circle, and many alumni are getting directly involved with this philanthropic event.