Sophomore Vinny Rotondo could be seen as an extremely involved student at Fairfield University. He has a double major in Politics and Public Relations, is a Tour Ambassador, a resident assistant in Loyola Hall, a Fairfield University Student Association Senator and serves on the Chair of Academic Affairs.
Yet, Rotondo has recently added another project to his list of achievements and activities.
Rotondo recently created, “Recycling for Refugees” that was approved last Wednesday, March 3, to take place on campus later in the year. This project will work to collect donations for refugees as students move out of their university housing at the end of the semester. Essentially there will be lists of items acceptable to be donated, sent out via email and located on various social media platforms. Students can then set aside those items as they move out.
This list includes small bedroom furniture (side tables, small dressers), lamps, small garbage bins, small rugs, dining and kitchen sets, couches, armchairs, coffee tables, TVs and computers. Essentially, anything that is not too large and can be shipped through the mail.
Rotondo had quite a lot to say about what inspired him to create this meaningful project and where he hopes it goes.
“My inspiration for starting this project is rooted in the global awareness I gained from having taken Emerging Questions last semester, which is a course offered through the Honors Program,” Rotondo said. “I specifically took the Global Engagement and Service course taught by professor Julie Mughal, and my experience in her class enabled me to experience a transformation in myself.”
He continued on describing how he saw the relevance between the class he took and the values of the university.
“Not only this, but I also became able to understand the importance of Jesuit education — specifically in the context of our mission that fosters being people for others,” said Rotondo
Rotondo felt extremely inspired by this particular course with Mughal and continued to expand his knowledge and interest in the global refugee crisis through his courses this semester as well.
“This semester, I am taking another class taught by professor Mughal, as well as a different course by professor Christopher Madden, and the course topic, Finding Answers, is specifically concentrated on finding answers about the growing refugee crisis”.
In the course taught by professor Madden, Rotondo felt particularly inspired through the first assignment of the class. They were assigned to read Alan Gratz’s book “Refugee” which allowed Rotondo to look into the narratives of three separate refugees. After reading this, he came away with the key concept that while there has been a lot of progress made, the refugee crisis is an issue that still remains and continues to grow.
All of this information that has inspired Rotondo aided him in the decision to create “Recycling for Refugees” with the help of both professor Julie Mughal and Professor Christopher Madden, as well as a partnership with the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants.
Rotondo has ambitious goals that he hopes to achieve with the recent approval of his project. “Some goals I have for this project are that we receive lots of donations from our community, our team works interdependently with one another in a collective effort, and that each member of our future team will be committed with their hearts to perform their tasks,” he said.
There are some big things ahead for Rotondo and his “Recycling for Refugees” project.
With the Jesuit education given at Fairfield, Rotondo hopes that he instills critical, as well as compassionate thinking through this new endeavor. He hopes “Recycling for Refugees” will provide an exciting, new opportunity for Fairfield University and its students to give back.
Rotondo said he “plans on building a team of members in our Fairfield community” and more information will be coming soon on how to get involved.
“I look forward to working with everyone who is going to be involved,” Rotondo said. “I think that the event of bringing our team together is going to be a memorable experience for each and every one of us.”