September 28, 2009
John’s University held its eighth-annual University Service Day on
Saturday, September 26, with over 1,600 students, faculty,
administrators, staff and alumni participating, including those
studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland, Salamanca, Spain, Rome, Italy
and Paris, France.
Queens Photo Gallery
Staten Island Photo Gallery
Manhattan Photo Gallery
Oakdale Photo Gallery
Rome Photo Gallery
Salamanca Photo Gallery
Paris Photo Gallery
Alumni Photo Gallery
In keeping with its Vincentian mission of helping those in need,
St. John’s holds Service Day each year in honor of the feast day of
St. Vincent de Paul, founder of the Congregation of the
St. John’s University alumni were also called back to their alma
mater to help make a difference on this special day, with four
big-city American chapters (Atlanta, Miami, Orange County, CA and
Washington, D.C.) organizing events.
day began with a morning prayer service before volunteers went out
to their designated service locations. Activities this year
included park clean-ups, visits to nursing homes and hospitals,
fundraisers, and other community assistance projects.
Rev. Patrick J. Griffin, C.M., Executive Vice President for Mission
and Branch Campuses, said that the 350th anniversary of the deaths
of Saints Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac provides a unique
opportunity to showcase St. John’s commitment to service.
“Gathering together in prayer and service is the best way in which
we can remember these heroes of the Vincentian mission,” Rev.
Griffin, C.M. said. “We as a St. John’s community throughout
New York and in Rome, Paris, Dublin, and Salamanca, symbolize our
commitment by real service to real people.”
In Manhattan, volunteers worked the breakfast and lunch shifts at a
local soup kitchen, while participants from the Oakdale Campus, who
have been collecting books for those ages 5-8 years old, delivered
the books to the Little Flower Children and Family Services of New
Cunningham Park in Queens, members of the University’s Honors
Program volunteered at the Fall Invitational for the Special
Olympics of New York, rallying for the athletes during a
competitive softball game and other sporting events.
The School of Education sponsored the “Tour de St. John’s,” where
bicyclists road a 25-30 mile route from the Queens campus to Fort
Totten Park in Bayside, and back, to support St. John’s Bread &
Life, Inc. And in Brooklyn, at St. John Baptist School on
Lewis Avenue, volunteers painted and cleaned classrooms for
students, and organized the library.
The School of Pharmacy participated in “Project Immunization,”
where forty faculty members and students were dispersed to four
libraries in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and on Long Island, to
educate the public on influenza and H1N1 immunizations.
Other groups hosted parties and clinics for children or took part
in the “Friends of the Poor” walk with an aim to combat hunger and
Staten Island, over 250 participants headed out to give back in
various communities throughout the island. Five nursing homes
were visited where volunteers read with patients and worked on arts
and crafts projects together; food pantries and local parishes were
visited where the shelves were stocked, meals were served and other
cleaning and maintenance projects were performed. Several
participants visited Lemon Creek Park and Woodland Cemetery
for landscaping and beautifying projects, while at Hospitality
House, volunteers entertained young children with coloring projects
and games and also tackled painting and other
In Dublin, St. John’s students began their day attending Mass at
All Hallows Chapel and having a breakfast with guest speaker Father
Jim McCormack. The students also served food in a soup
kitchen and assisted in the operation of a wet hostel. Later that
evening, the students discussed their Service Day experience over a
traditional Irish supper.
In Salamanca, St. John’s students were at a food bank cleaning
crates of jam before they were to be distributed to the needy. They
later joined together for reflection. In Rome, undergraduate
students spent the day visiting with the elderly, while graduate
students helped service food in a soup kitchen.
Students in Paris helped also worked in a soup kitchen and in the
operation of a hostel. Others participated in “Midnight Run Paris,”
where students prepared dinner bags and distributed them to the
homeless throughout the city. The day ended with an on-campus
In Washington D.C., alumni and members of the University’s Office
of Alumni Relations, cleaned up and worked on maintenance projects
at an elementary school for disadvantaged children, while across
the country in Orange County and Los Angeles, members of those
alumni chapters sorted clothing and shoes for distribution to the
needy. In the South, the Miami chapter volunteered in soup
kitchens, nursing homes and schools and the Atlanta chapter donated
art items to a school that lost its art program due to budget
Interested media members should contact Elizabeth Reilly, Assistant
Director of Media Relations at St. John’s, by calling (718)
990-5789, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.