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Dec. 16, 2004 • Volume 13 Number 8

(L-R) Michael Cotter '08, Angie Brewster '08, Samantha Koller '07 and other members of the Presidential Scholars Program wrap presents purchased through a donation drive. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

In December, Time to Remember Others

'Service to others' rings true at University during holiday season

One pillar of Jesuit and Catholic education is "service to others" and at Boston College there is no shortage of outreach opportunities, especially during the holiday season.

Members of the University community wishing to help the less fortunate during December do not need to look very far, say BC administrators, faculty, staff and students.

"It's that time of year when it seems everybody wants to get involved and do what they can for others," said Student Services Administrative Specialist Jane McGuire.

For the fifth consecutive year, McGuire and her colleagues at the Office of Student Services are organizing and sponsoring a gift basket raffle to support a variety of local charities.

To raise money for the presents, various offices from across campus are decorating 22 gift baskets - each with a theme, such as the Red Sox, golf, home improvement or chocolates - that are displayed in Lyons Hall and later raffled off along with other prizes.

Proceeds from the raffle will go to such organizations as Catholic Charities, the Department of Social Services, Project Hope, and several women's shelters in the Boston area.

"This project has really grown over the years and we've got the wider BC community to thank for it," said McGuire.

"This year we expect to help about 32 children and 30 women have a better Christmas."

Tickets cost $1 each or six for $5 and are on sale up to the Dec. 22 drawing.

Besides Student Services, the offices donating baskets include University Counseling, the Jesuit Community, Jesuit Institute, University Health Services, Academic Technology Services, the BC Bookstore, the Office of the Academic Vice President, Media Technology Services and Research and Instructional Technology Services, and several individual donors - and the so-called "Elves of Heffernan House."

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Gasson Rotunda was decorated with holiday cheer for the annual Breaking the Barriers Ball on Dec. 2. (Photo by Suzanne Camarata)

Members of the Presidential Scholars Program gathered one evening last week to wrap gifts, purchased with funds raised through a donation drive, for children living at Willow Park, a low-income residence in Watertown.

The gifts, plus a Christmas tree and food, will be brought to the children on Dec. 20 when residents hold their annual Christmas party.

BC students raised about $800 in addition to some extra toys that were donated to the drive, said Michael Cotter '08, who helped lead the drive. He estimates that as many as 40 people contributed to the effort.

The Presidential Scholars Program each year enrolls 15 incoming freshmen, chosen on the basis of academic excellence, demonstrated leadership ability and significant community service involvement.

"We could be just a group that sits around thinking about things, but when we get together for something like this we can really make a positive difference," said Cotter. "From what I understand I don't think [the Presidential Scholars Program] has ever gotten together to do anything like this. It's important and has a lot in line with the Jesuit mission of BC."

Sue Ellen Murrey '87 and her husband Matthew enjoy an old-fashioned hayride with their children Catherine and Ryan at the Dec. 5 "Winter Wonderland" family celebration hosted by the Boston College Alumni Association. (Photo by Frank Curran)

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Residents of Edmond's Hall have adopted eight families from the Genesis House, a women's shelter located in Newton and operated through Catholic Charities, the social service arm of the Archdiocese of Boston.

According to Resident Director Susan Ciccone, the Edmond's students hope to provide presents for all 17 members of the four families this Christmas by holding several events programs in the residence hall.

Students held a bake sale and put up a "giving tree" where participants can pull off a gift tag and buy the suggested present for the families. Another project involves the sale of "stockings" full of treats to send to friends during finals.

"The students and resident assistants have responded with enthusiasm and we are confident we will be able to give a wonderful Christmas to these families," said Ciccone.

In another example of residence hall outreach, last weekend first year students on Upper Campus "buddied" up with some 80 foster children aged 4-12 for the day.

BOPPIN' AT THE BALLˇBC bOp! (above) and other student music groups provided the entertainment at the Dec. 2 Breaking the Barriers Ball. (Photo by Suzanne Camarata)

"It was amazing," said Residential Life Assistant Director Rita Sabattis. "We had over 80 freshmen students, who helped decorate, brought presents and played with the foster children. We also had someone dress up as Santa, and we took pictures and gave the children presents."

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For some 18 years, the Connell School of Nursing faculty and staff have contributed to Rosie's Place, which offers emergency and long-term assistance to poor and homeless women, said Prof. Joellen Hawkins (CSON). At their annual faculty/staff holiday luncheon held last week more than $1,900 was raised for Rosie's Place through a silent auction of jewelry, sports memorabilia, compact discs, books and other items.

Also in CSON, the Graduate Nurses' Association held their traditional pizza luncheons on Dec. 6 and 7, at which attendees brought donations for a local outreach center. Items such as blankets, towels, socks, underwear and backpacks were collected and distributed to the Sidney Borum Health Center on Boylston Street in Boston and Youth on Fire, a multi-service center in Harvard Square for homeless youth.

"Johnny the K" brought his own kind of Christmas spirit to the "Winter Wonderland" family celebration held on Newton Campus Dec. 5. (Photo by Frank Curran)

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The Graduate Student Association placed large gift-wrapped boxes in locations throughout campus to collect toys for the Toys for Tots Foundation, a 57-year-old tradition of the US Marine Corps Reserves, which gives gifts to disadvantaged children who might otherwise have nothing on Christmas.

"They told me their needs were non-violent, new, unwrapped toys for kids 1 through 12," said Lynch School of Education graduate student Lauren Radano, who helped organize the effort. "We wrapped cardboard boxes with wrapping paper and put them in graduate offices across campus. As of [Dec. 9] they were nearly all full."

Radano said the boxes will be dropped off to the Boston Toys For Tots office tomorrow, Dec. 17.

Also collecting for Toys for Tots is the BC Athletic Association, which is accepting donations in Conte Forum until 3 p.m. tomorrow. Those contributing items will receive two complementary tickets to an upcoming men's or women's basketball game. For more information, call ext.2-3005.

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The Graduate School of Social Work Student Collective invites members of the University community to donate clothing and non-perishable food items that will be given to local shelters and food pantries during the holiday season. Contributions can be dropped off until tomorrow in collection boxes located in the McGuinn Student Lounge. For more information, e-mail volpeka@bc.edu.

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