Boston College Takes to the Road for Sesquicentennial Service
Published: Thursday, April 18, 2013
Updated: Thursday, April 18, 2013 00:04
One of the pillars of Boston College is service to others. From 4Boston and PULSE to Arrupe and Appalachia, the University encourages its students to give of their time and energy to those less fortunate than they. In keeping with this identity, BC has also incorporated the theme of service into its celebration of the 150th anniversary of the school. In order to reach out to alumni across the country and across the globe, BC has taken a service project on the road to Dublin and different cities in the U.S. in the aptly named “150 on the Road.”
“One of the things BC is known for is its value system around service,” said Jim Husson, senior vice president for university advancement. “Alumni are active in service in their lives. We thought we would link the 150th [celebration] to a service initiative. We needed to find a service project that would work in every city. We found a service partner through Catholic Relief Services.”
Through the Catholic Relief Services, each stop of “150 on the Road” hosts a meal packaging service project in conjunction with Stop Hunger Now, an international hunger relief program. The project involves mixing vitamins, soy, dehydrated vegetables such as celery, carrots, and onions, and rice in bags that each hold a meal for six people. The bags are then weighed, sealed, and packaged in boxes that are sent out to countries across the world. The meals packed as a part of BC’s project go to fight hunger in West Africa.
When Joy Moore, director of stewardship and donor relations and BC ’81, H ’10, stepped up to the podium on Saturday in Conte Forum to direct the alumni and parent volunteers gathered there, she already had two events under her belt. Moore has traveled with “150 on the Road” to direct the first two events in Los Angeles and Miami in February.
The Chestnut Hill event was broken up into two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Moore began each event with an explanatory video and explained the procedure for packing, weighing, sealing, and packaging the meals.
“We were looking for a way to bring our alumni back,” Moore said. “We discovered this partnership and the response has been overwhelming. It is a family friendly project—folks have brought their kids.”
In Los Angeles, the project attracted 225 alumni and packed 35,000 meals. In Miami, 189 alumni came to the event to pack 30,000 meals. The Chestnut Hill event saw 540 volunteers show up to Conte Forum to pack 191,000 meals.
“When we originally conceived the project, [we thought], ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could meet a goal of packing 150,000 meals?’” Husson said.
“The response from alumni has been overwhelming,” Moore said. “We keep having to up our goals—it’s a nice problem to have.”
The next stop for the project is San Francisco this Saturday. After that, it heads to New York City, where already 365 people have signed up. In May, the project goes abroad to Dublin, Ireland, before finishing up in June in Chicago.
“This is one of those events that is extremely rewarding because of our Jesuit motto,” Husson said. “A lot of universities have a party for their anniversary—here, we roll up our sleeves and are doing some good.”