Student Profile

Sean Farber, ’13: A Future of Service

Sean Farber, ’13, remembers the exact moment when he had what he calls “an epiphany” that changed his life. It was in June after his freshman year at Niagara. He was driving home after attending a national Vincentian Young Adult Convocation hosted by DePaul University, an event that included service, workshops and liturgical celebration to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the deaths of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac. As he reflected upon his experience, he realized that he wanted service to be a focal point of his career.

“I was so inspired by the people I met,” he says. “I realized that they are the type of people I wanted to be surrounded by — service-minded, caring individuals — and I wanted to serve others, too, because that’s where I feel the most comfortable.” Although he had done some community service activities in high school, he says, “I never thought of making a career out of it until then.”

When he returned to Niagara, Sean became more active in service opportunities, both on and off campus. Two such opportunities were a trip to Emmitsburg, Md., with the university’s BASIC (Brothers and Sisters in Christ) program, and a volunteer position with AmeriCorps over the summer as a member of a YMCA camp’ sweekend support staff.

“AmeriCorps reaffirmed my beliefs that I want to have a rewarding job when I graduate from NU,”he says. “I worked hard, but I got to see the campers benefit from my hard work first hand.”

Last semester, Sean, a member of the student EAGLE (Experience And Growth in Leadership Education) program, and fellow EAGLE leader Gabi Sorrentino, ’13, spearheaded a can tab drive to benefit the Tabs for Kids Fund, an organization that recycles aluminum and uses the proceeds to purchase wheelchairs and related equipment for children with physical disabilities. In addition to setting up collection bins in the residence halls, Sean constructed a necklace of two water bottles and two jars, which essentially served as a traveling donation center.“Wearing something that big and obnoxious around your neck is bound to spark a conversation,” Sean says. “A lot of people would ask me what I was doing, so the word of the fundraiser spread quickly.”

Sean also undertook an endeavor to raise awareness of the situation in Somalia and to support Dr. Abdiweli Ali, the Niagara University professor who was appointed prime minister of that country last year. For two weeks, he chose to follow a 1,000-calorie per day diet to gain a deeper understanding of hunger, and he blogged about his experience to inspire others to take action in support of the Somali people. The experiment served to capture the attention of many people as well as to instill in Sean a greater appreciation of the availability of food and water in America.

With his junior year coming to an end, Sean is working to complete his double major in communication studies and computer and information systems and continuing to participate in a wide range of service opportunities. He’s also finishing a study-abroad experience in England. He hopes to put his skills to use at a small, nonprofit organization that he’s “passionate about” after he graduates. “Right now,” he says,” I’m leaning toward something internationally related, but we’ll see.”