Students grasp world issues as CRS ambassadors

By Danielle Alio
October 15, 2009

Shannon Keough

A CRS ambassador is someone who is committed to learning about global humanitarian issues that impact the poor around the world and to organize campus programs.

Since Cabrini College began its partnership with Catholic Relief Services in 2005, students have had many leadership opportunities relating to social justice. One of those is the CRS ambassador program, which trains students to advocate for world issues they are dedicated to.

Cabrini is one of five partners with CRS along with Villanova University, University of Notre Dame, Seattle University and Santa Clara University. Cabrini was the first institution to form the partnership in April of 2005.

“Social justice is something that I am passionate about. I just saw the work that the Wolfington Center does and what CRS does and I was really intrigued by it,” Bit Hess, sophomore social work major and ambassador for fair trade, said. “I saw how committed so many people were so I wanted to get more involved.”

There are six issues in which students can specialize as a CRS ambassador. They are HIV/AIDS, food security, migration, microfinance, peace building and fair trade.

“Fair trade is what I am drawn to. There are so many learning opportunities and so many cool people you get to work with to just promote fair trade,” Hess said.

Ambassadors have the opportunity to coordinate events and host programs in order to raise other students’ awareness and involvement of a given issue.

“Our goal with programming, especially with HIV/AIDS, is to hold fun, informative and educational programs to make sure the people who are walking away from our program can leave knowing that things can get better regardless of the myth that the world can’t change. The only way it will change is if we change it,” Kristie Bergin, senior social work major and ambassador for HIV/AIDS, said.

This past September, the Cabrini CRS ambassadors, along with ambassadors from Villanova, got to go to the world headquarters of CRS in Baltimore for training.

“I think that being an ambassador makes my educational experience much more hands-on because the training was a way to really immerse ourselves in CRS and social activism and gives you a chance to branch outside of the campus,” Hess said.

The ambassadors at Cabrini have a lot of passion and drive for their issues.

“I learned a lot about social justice since I got here and it is a part of my life,” Shannon Keough, senior English and communication major and president of the ambassadors, said. “Social justice is everywhere.”

Keough stressed that it is important to pick one issue that is important to you because it is hard to advocate for all of them, since a lot of education is involved to be an expert on the issue.

Another way for students to become involved with Cabrini’s partnership with CRS is to become a CRS representative. Students who are limited in time but are still interested in global issues can apply to become a representative, which allows them to assist the ambassadors in planning programs.

“A representative doesn’t have as many responsibilities as an ambassador, but it is a great way to start,” Keough said.

“With CRS, you put what you learn into action,” Bergin said. “I think Cabrini is all about giving students a voice and letting us know we do have a voice and with CRS, that is absolutely the truth. CRS gives you the opportunity to use our voices in a productive and educational way.”

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Danielle Alio

Danielle Alio
Cabrini College '12
The Loquitur Manging Editor
LOQation Executive Producer
WYBF FM - On Air DJ/Assistant Production Director
Cabrini College Theater-Stage Crew/Actress

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