It was difficult for Cabrini students to find a seat in the Wolfington Center on Wednesday, March 25, for an information session at the Wolfington Center held for prospective Catholic Relief Services Ambassadors.
Students ran to other classrooms to grab as many extra chairs as they could. Forty people crammed into the Wolfington Center to show their enthusiasm for the event.
“This is the first time we’ve held a meeting like this, but it is definitely the biggest response we have had regarding underclassmen, especially first year students, involvement with the program,” senior psychology major and ambassador at-large Jessica Zawrotny, said.
The meeting opened with Dr. Mary Laver, director of international partnerships, giving a brief overview of how long she has been with CRS and Cabrini’s history with CRS.
After Laver’s introduction, Candice Harris, program assistant at the CRS Northeast Regional Office, gave a PowerPoint presentation, where students learned some background information on what CRS does. CRS was founded in 1945 and has been actively involved in social justice since.
Several current CRS ambassadors, Zawrotny, Elizabeth Briggs, Kristie Bergin, Brittany Mitchell and Christopher Cantwell, talked about their past experiences with the program.
Bergin, junior social work and religious studies major, explained to the students why they should fill out their applications.
“Sign up because it’s a fun way to spread awareness about social justice and to grow in leadership and advocacy skills,” Bergin said. “Don’t hesitate to use the many resources we have here at Cabrini and with CRS to come up with good programs. Try not to be discouraged if people seem disinterested and know that you’re doing good work.”
The slideshow continued to inform students of the opportunities of becoming an ambassador. Ambassadors work to bring awareness and work by the model principle of “never have the government do what the local people can do.”
Prospective ambassadors were given applications and were told to consider which issue they would like to be involved in. The programs consist of migration, HIV/AIDS, food security, fair trade, peacebuilding and microfinance.
“CRS has great opportunities with all of the programs, but I have become fully captivated and interested with the idea of immigration and migration,” Michelle Costa, freshman communication major, said. “I hope to find a way to better our system for those who are trying to better their lives by crossing our border.”
Students began filling out the applications immediately as they were handed out. The meeting concluded with a question and answer session.
“I think the meeting went really well,” Briggs, junior psychology and sociology major, said. “The students got an idea of what exactly CRS does and why this is such a unique and valuable opportunity. Everyone seemed to be really engaged and excited about the global issues that we discussed.”
Jamie Santoro, freshman communication major, expressed his feelings about his possible future as a CRS student ambassador.
“I’m very excited. A little nervous because I really want to be an ambassador,” Santoro said. “I want to further the causes that have sparked my interest in my first semester of ECG. I want to develop this campus as a socially aware one. I hope that everybody can learn the issues, not agree on them but just be educated enough to have an opinion in the first place.”