Campus Ministry recently announced that they have created a new map with the service opportunities the office offers to students. The intention of the map is to give Fairfield students a better understanding of the service opportunities available to them and how the university and the service office partner with Bridgeport organizations to give back to the community.
The map, which is color-coded, indicates the various types of service opportunities available to Fairfield students. Red identifies opportunities to work with kids, green for animal care, purple for vulnerable communities, like working with children with disabilities or senior citizens, orange is food security and yellow indicates quick one-time service projects like giving blood.
Katie Byrnes, the campus minister for community engagement, played a key role in the creation of this new and interactive service map. As she now moves onto her ninth year working at Fairfield, she expressed enthusiasm for the new feature.
“Our goal is for a year when we can say everyone at graduation has done some kind of service,” said Byrnes.
The map is designed so that every student can find what is right for them and connect with a service site. In Bridgeport, service projects depend heavily on the type of neighborhood and what is needed at a particular time.
Byrnes also shared her insight on how service should be viewed in communities in need.
“We never go into a community and pretend we have the answers to all of their problems. We go into a community to learn how we can help and give help where it’s needed. My dream would be for every student to help out while they’re here,” explained Byrnes.
She also expressed how important it is for students to get involved in service while they’re at Fairfield. While some students might be hesitant to take time out of their schedules for service, Campus Ministry encourages all students to get involved in community service. The Service Leadership Council, a group started last year, works to communicate service events and engages with student organizations about different ways to involve their clubs in the practice of giving back to the community.
“Service allows students to use their hands and hearts when doing work instead of just their heads,” said Byrnes.
Byrnes explained that service can be a release from the average school experience. She went on to state that service projects are great for first-year students trying to get more involved and meet new people. Service, according to her, is a way of being outside and breathing fresh air.
Highlighting the values of the Catholic Church and the Society of Jesus, Byrnes explained that it is everyone’s responsibility to help disadvantaged communities as Fairfield and Bridgeport have the biggest difference between wealth and poverty in the United States.
“As men and women for and with others, we believe in using the gifts that we have been given in order to bring justice to the world,” stated Byrnes.
For students interested in using the new service map, Byrnes directs students to browse the Life@Fairfield website and register directly to do their preferred service activity or contact her directly by email @firstname.lastname@example.org or in person at the Campus Ministry offices.