Mirror File Photo

Hundreds of Fairfield students will wake up early on the morning of this Saturday, March 27, but not to get a good spot in the library or to rush to Barone. Instead, they will be participating in the Fairfield tradition of Hunger Cleanup.

The 22nd annual Hunger Cleanup helps combat poverty and homelessness in Bridgeport, Conn. Last year Fairfield’s 650 participants raised $10,000. The goal is to clean up the inner city, make a difference every year, and keep it going.

According to Carolyn Rusiackas, an advisor for the Hunger Cleanup board and Campus Ministry’s associate University chaplain, the event is “evolving into the longest-running,  largest one day outreach project the University does.”

The opportunity to serve in this event is open to all students in the graduate and professional programs at the University. Students will become more aware of the poverty that is affecting their neighboring community. Bridgeport students will have the continuous pleasure of our assistance in helping them fight for better living conditions.

The Hunger Cleanup Board is comprised of: two advisors, Wylie Smith Blake, the Campus Ministry Community Outreach coordinator, and Rusiackas, the associate University chaplain, an executive board of 11 students in five separate committees and a general board of approximately 20 people.

Athletes, teachers, FUSA, Jesuits, alumni, residential assistants, Bridgeport High School students and families within the community are joining their efforts together for this amazing experience to meet and talk to others over breakfast before and lunch afterwards.

“I went to a beach in Bridgeport and did a beach cleanup,” said Meghann Sweeney ‘11. Sweeney is in her second year on the Hunger Cleanup board as recruiting co-chair.

Blake hopes that all students will reach out and join a team for the event. In fact, she said they are hoping for around 500 students.

“Join the tradition at F.U.!” she encouraged. “It’s a great way to step out of the Fairfield bubble and get involved and make a difference in the larger community.”

Students help clean up Bridgeport in a previous Hunger Cleanup event. (Mirror File Photo)

Co-chair of Hunger Cleanup Antoinette Basso ‘11 reiterated Blake’s enthusiasm. “The board’s biggest goal is to raise $10,000 and have 500 volunteers. My personal goal for this year is to have 600 volunteers and raise $11,000,” she said.

“I want this year’s Hunger Cleanup to get even more people involved then last year,” continued Basso.

According to co-chair Stephanie Iannuzzo ‘11, already half of the board’s goal in donations has been made.

“Personally my goal is to bring as many students out on Saturday morning and make an impact on the areas surrounding our campus,” she said.

Iannuzzo also stressed how hard the board has been working in the organization of the event  and how many people have been involved to make Hunger Cleanup such an “awesome experience.”
“It’s an opportunity for community service in the larger community,” said Eric Clayton ‘10.

An integral component of a Jesuit education is serving the local and national communities by putting social justice into action. The 22nd annual Hunger Cleanup will help students get involved on issues in the local community that are worthy of awareness.

“It’s a fun way to give back to the community. I cleaned up an abandoned lot in Bridgeport,” said Maura Noone ‘11.

Students, faculty, alumni and the whole community all have fun together working towards building friendships, cleaning the streets and reflecting on their experiences.

“Hunger Cleanup gets everyone involved and joins all groups of people to a common good,” said Nicole Sweeney ‘10.

“It shows that so many students care about the community,” she added.

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