Five years ago Cabrini College signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Catholic Relief Services and became the first institution of higher education to partner with them.
On Wednesday, April 7, that partnership was renewed and later celebrated in the Mansion. Cabrini CRS ambassadors were in attendance alongside alumni who set the stepping-stones for the program.
Over the past five years Cabrini has actively supported the global outreach programs of CRS by advocating on their behalf on multiple social justice issues.
Shannon Keough, senior communication major and current president of the CRS ambassadors, has been able to see the growth of the program first-hand.
“I witnessed the majority of the partnership when I began to get involved in CRS as a sophomore. I remember coming to the cafeteria my freshman year and seeing the Fair Trade posters in the napkin holders,” Keough said.
There are only five other institutions with a partnership with CRS. They include the University of Notre Dame and Seattle, Santa Clara, and Villanova University.
During the celebration, speakers including Joan Rosenhauer, the CRS executive vice president of U.S. operations, and Dr. Jeff Gingerich, the interim dean for academic affairs, praised the program and its effect on Cabrini.
“I wanted to say that for me today and the work that we’ve done collectively over the past five years gives great hope,” Maureen McCullough, the northeast/mid-Atlantic regional director of CRS, said.
Gingerich echoed McCullough in her praise for the ambassadors and faculty.
“You clearly embrace mission as a part of who you are and a part of who we are and what we believe as Catholics and it plays out in so many ways, “ Gingerich said to the audience.
Keough further noted how the working with CRS has not only influenced students on campus, but also the academics of Cabrini.
“We’re the only smaller school that has this partnership. It really affected the new curriculum,” Keough said.
The new curriculum at Cabrini, engagements for the common good, emphasizes social justice issues, which parallels the mission of CRS.
“It’s very easy, I think, for Catholic Relief Services to partner with Cabrini College because you have that core commitment to this mission that we all share,” Gingerich said to the audience.
Keough showcased the major CRS events on campus including popular Nets for Nets and Fair Trade Walleyball programs in a brief PowerPoint presentation.
A Mass of Thanksgiving for the partnership, presided over by Fr. Michael Bielecki, was held afterwards at the Bruckmann Chapel of St. Joesph.
Kristie Bergin, senior social work major and secretary of the CRS ambassadors club, felt reinforced by the work the organization has done across the campus.
“It was great to be able to see the highlights over the past five years and it was inspiring to think where the program could be in the next five years,” Bergin said.