If you like the sound of free coffee and snacks, Campus Ministry may be your new favorite study spot.

Located beneath Fairfield’s Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola, Campus Ministry is a welcoming space for students that’s meant to feel somewhat like a living room. 

With its comfortable couches and relaxing atmosphere, it’s the perfect place to unplug, decompress and make Fairfield feel like home. 

I sat down with Katie Byrnes, campus minister for social justice and community engagement, to discuss the services sponsored by Campus Ministry.

Her primary role is to coordinate community service.

 “I have a lot of really cool opportunities for students to go off campus and get engaged in the wider community,” she said. “Between Bridgeport and Fairfield is the sharpest poverty line between wealth and poverty in the United States. We’re on the wealthy side of it, so my work is important to push students across the line and think about how we can share the gifts that have been given to us.” 

Both on and off campus, Campus Ministry offers several ways to actively work toward justice. 

Byrnes emphasized the idea that you can serve in a multitude of ways. 

The Pencil Pals program, for example, is one of her favorite service projects to be involved in.

“We have a group here that writes letters back and forth with local fifth graders,” she said. “They write to each other all year, and at the end of the year they get to meet.” 

Relatedly, Read-Aloud Day is an opportunity for students to read at Bridgeport schools. 

Fairfield University mascot Lucas the Stag will be attending the Read-Aloud Day on Oct. 20, and if that’s not a compelling incentive to get involved, I’m not sure what is. 

Among the service opportunities mentioned, there is an Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice program. Each year in Washington, D.C., members of the Ignatian family come together to advocate for various social issues.

Byrnes describes this event “like a huge pep rally for justice.” How cool is that? 

This year’s Teach-In will be held Nov. 5-7 and focus on climate change. Students can register for the event on Life@Fairfield

Campus Ministry works hard to help students acclimate to Fairfield. Their doors are open from 7:00 a.m. until midnight, and they encourage students to take advantage of their space and resources. 

“It’s an extraordinary privilege for us to walk alongside you guys,” said Byrnes.

Whether you’re looking to meet new people, mingle with friends or focus on homework, Campus Ministry can be whatever you make of it.

 

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