Changes and Updates Within the Social Action Suite

by CATHERINE GOODYEAR, Social Media Editor

Manhattan College offers many chances to act on Lasallian values. Jacquie Martin took over the position of coordinator of Social Action this past July after the former coordinator, Jenn Edwards, left the college, bringing new service opportunities for students.

“I was a graduate assistant here on this campus last year for Campus Ministry and Social Action. Jenn Edwards who was in the role before me and decided to make a career change so this position was open so I had decided that was something I might want to apply for and that I was really interested in,” said Martin.

Coordinator of Social Action looks over the L.O.V.E. and LOCo programs, as well as Service on Saturdays and other events. LOCo, the Lasallian Outreach Collaborative is a local community service group where students commit for a semester to do weekly service with one of the community partners and host reflection events to talk about their experience.

Kathleen Von Euw, the assistant director of community engagement and partnerships, works on a number of programs through campus ministry, social action and community based learning. This semester she has helped organize 13 organizations that students can choose from to do community service on a weekly basis.

“I think every year and especially over the summers, every summer our staff as a CMSA staff, so not just the social action suite, are always looking to take whatever it is we are doing, our programs, and make them better and by making them better I mean, think critically ourselves about what it is we are doing and improve our program to make them more educational experiences for students at Manhattan and how to make them more ethical and responsible and meaningful experiences both locally here in New York City and in the Bronx but also in other places in the United States and internationally,” Von Euw said.

She continued.

“We are excited about the new programs we are able to do this year we have a great team,” she said.

The L.O.V.E. program, or the Lasallian Outreach Volunteer Experience, is a service immersion trip. This winter students can participate on experiences to New Orleans, La., El Paso, Texas and Duran, Ecuador, as well as a new trip to Flint, Mich.

Melanie Santos, a graduate assistant getting her masters in special education, grades 7-12, works in the Social Action Suite under Martin.

“I am focusing on a Slice of Social Justice which are different type forums, presentations and small discussions that focus on social issues. I am also taking a big part in LOVE and I am really working with the budget, e-mailing advisors, setting up meetings etc. Jacquie is great. I feel like I am learning so much from her. She gives excellent directions and I feel very comfortable going to her for some help,” said Santos.

Martin had similar roles when she was a graduate assistant herself but got more involved with the L.O.V.E. program when she became coordinator.

“All of the experiences are for any student, everyone has a place in the L.O.V.E. program, it is really a chance to learn about social justice, to build community with other people on campus and learn about the social justice issues that are going on in our world and really seeing them first hand by talking to people and getting to know community partners in the places that we are going,” said Martin.

Recently many new programs have been coming out of CMSA including the new group  called Friends of Fair Trade and Social Activism field trips.

“We have a new program starting this year, social activism field trips, taking advantage of being in New York City, visiting different historical sites that hold significance relating to a social justice issue. Museums that have exhibits going on that are focused on that like the New York Historical Society has an exhibit on Jim Crow,” said Von Euw.

Before coming to MC, Martin was a full time program coordinator for Lasallian Volunteers at Serviam Gardens, a low-income, subsidized housing corporation for senior citizens in Fordham, Bedford. This is one of Manhattan College’s community partners where students in LOCo visit and volunteer at. Martin studied anthropology at St. Mary’s College of California in the class of 2015 where she was first introduced to Lasallian values.

“It really resonated with me and really connected with me. I think the Lasallian core principles are a really strong philosophy that can really be used to be a good person and have helped me and guided me in everything I do. That made me want to get involved to the Lasallian Volunteer program which drove me to coming to another Lasallian college. Last year I was one of the Lasallian scholars here on campus, there are four scholars here on campus now, who did Lasallian Volunteers for two years and then got a scholarship to go to another Lasallian college for their masters program which led me here,” said Martin.

These values are shown in the way she leads in her role as coordinator and resonated with the students and staff members she works with.

“Campus Ministry and Social Action is a place for everyone on campus for students of all faith backgrounds or no faith background and we do so many different types of programming that there is really something for everyone to get involved with so we just want students to know that,” said Martin.