The Niagara University Community Action Program was the ﬁrst on the top of the list of service clubs and organizations on page 201 of my 1982 undergraduate handbook. I remember it as the largest student organization on campus during my time at Niagara.
The organization’s description stated the following: “ … students wishing to contribute their time and talent to help the less fortunate are put in contact with existing agencies in the Niagara Falls area for volunteer work. A commitment of one hour a week is asked of student volunteers.”
I remember well volunteering at Maranatha House, the Lampstand soup kitchen, the YMCA handicapped swim program, and other places with other Niagara students. We were putting into action our Catholic heritage and what we were learning about St. Vincent de Paul and the Vincentian traditions at Niagara.
Today, this organization and its traditions live on at Niagara in the Learn and Serve program.
So why reminisce about the past? Because it is providing direction for present and future opportunities for our alumni chapters. I attended an alumni chapter event in Charlotte, N.C., on May 18. With the support of chapter leaders Jason Stein, ’93, Sarah Griffin, ’01, and Kaylin Ranagan, ’08, we participated in an afternoon of service at the Second Harvest Food Bank in Charlotte. There, we worked alongside 12 other Niagara alumni and friends, and joined with 15 other volunteer workers to help sort donations to the food bank for distribution to local agencies that assist the poor and needy.
A number of us talked about how similar this experience was to our NUCAP or Learn and Serve experiences. During the afternoon, we got to know each other a little better while providing a great service to the Charlotte community.The Office of Alumni Engagement encourages all alumni chapters to consider hosting a day of service each year. If you would like more information on how to start this process, or want to be connected with the alumni chapter leader in your area, please contact me at 716.286.8772 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.